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January 28, 2013
Arizona athlete chooses Pac-12
Clarence Smith has flown under the radar for much of this season, as mostly FCS schools expressed interest in him. However, that changed in a big way over the weekend for the 6-foot-3 inch, 215 pound athlete.Youngker (Buckeye, Ariz.) athlete
Smith officially visited Utah over the weekend and accepted a scholarship offer to play for the Utes. According to Smith, the decision was a no brainer. "The whole visit was an amazing experience. I felt really comfortable out here. It feels like home and I almost don't want to leave. I could really picture living [in Salt Lake City] for the next four or five years of my life," Smith said. "I was impressed with the chemistry the whole team had. When I was introduced to everybody there wasn't a second that I felt left out. Everyone is a brother here. Everyone looks out for each other. I really clicked with those guys and became a member of the family."
During the trip, Smith was hosted by Utah linebacker Reshawn Hooker, and the two hit it off right away. "[Reshawn] is a character. He's a real cool guy. He's social. He's fun. We clicked. He was telling me I'd love it out here. He said that we go at it at practice. Its really intense, and when you're on the field, it's on. He said I'm going to have fun here, but that you have to work to earn your spot. You really have to work hard. I believed him. He had me ready to play football," he said.
Smith was also impressed with the Utah staff, particularly offensive line coach Dan Finn and head coach Kyle Whittingham. "Coach Whittingham is a real cool guy. He's real straightforward and honest. He looks you straight in the eyes and tells you that you can be good if you put in the work. I like that about him. He won't try to beat around the bush," he said.
Smith, who is only 16 years old, will grayshirt before joining the team in January of 2014. This will allow him to get his body ready for the rigors of the Pac-12. Once he arrives on campus, Smith could play a number of positions for the Utes. "Right now, the coaches plan to use me as a big running back. They say to me 'You're going to grow a lot. If you keep your speed up, you'll be a good power back for us,'" he explained.
Smith could also end up playing linebacker as well, depending on what happens with the depth chart when he arrives on campus. Smith maintains that he doesn't care which position he plays as long as he has the opportunity to see the field. "It doesn't matter where I play, as long as I'm playing. I prefer running back, but if they say I'd be good at defense then I'll so whatever is best for the team," he said.