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Sunday, July 14, 2013
ATH Smith close to finalizing official visits

By Erik McKinney

The recruiting process isn't exactly winding down for John "JuJu" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), but the No. 60 recruit in the nation provided a bit of clarity this weekend.

The 6-foot-1, 206-pound athlete had official visits scheduled to Michigan on Sept. 6 and Notre Dame on Oct. 18. Recently, he added to those with trips to Ohio State on Sept. 27 and Alabama on Nov. 8. He'll see the Wolverines host Notre Dame, the Irish host USC, the Buckeyes host Wisconsin and the Crimson Tide host LSU. Smith also will take an official visit to Mississippi, though he hasn't set a date for that trip at this point.

Smith said those five schools, along with UCLA, USC and Wisconsin make up his top eight right now, although he is still open to other schools joining that group. He said taking official visits to the local schools wasn't a priority, as he likely will make several trips to each for games and to spend time with the coaches. But getting a look at several SEC programs is a must for him.

"Everybody says it's the best league, and you get a chance to compete against the best of the best," Smith said. "Staying home is good too, but I feel like going out and competing against the best will make me a better player."

Smith won't let the process play all the way out to signing day, as he hopes to make a commitment during the Under Armour All-America Game.