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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Watch List WR gets big Pac-12 offer

By Blair Angulo

ESPN Watch List receiver John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) might have an ordinary name, but he doesn’t have an ordinary game. That much was evident this past fall.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound athlete continued his rise in the local recruiting landscape on Thursday, bagging a scholarship offer from the USC Trojans.

“It means a lot for me being a guy from California. USC is a big school in this state,” Smith said. “I grew up watching Reggie Bush and all of them, so this means a lot to me.”

Smith had not been in contact with the USC coaches lately, but said he expects dialogue to pick up after national signing day. The dynamic playmaker was credited with nearly 700 receiving yards and had an impact playing safety on defense for Poly, which captured the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division championship.

The Class of 2014 standout plans to run track during the spring, traveling to national meets with Poly’s renowned squad. He will compete in various events, including the 400-meter dash and 4x100 relay.

Smith, who has been pegged with the nickname “JuJu,” also has scholarship offers from Fresno State, San Jose State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State. The two Los Angeles schools are the early favorites.

“They’re both good schools,” Smith said of USC and UCLA. “I mean, coach Jim Mora is doing a great job over there. He’s bringing that program up even more. My interest in both of them are really high, so we’ll see.”

Smith also has interest in a few other schools, though offers have not been extended.

“I would like to hear more from Notre Dame, Stanford, schools from down South that don’t come out here much like Alabama, LSU and Texas,” he said. “I want to play wide receiver in college, but to be successful in life and hopefully make it to the NFL, it’s playing defense and safety. I haven’t been told where USC is recruiting me, but as of right now I think I’m just an athlete.”