February 3, 2010

Four-star defender makes surprise pick

The recruitment of Hialeah, Fla. defensive lineman Calvin Smith has been as fervent as almost any defensive lineman in the country. With scholarship offers from around the country, Smith was given the opportunity to play in the SEC, the ACC, Big Ten and beyond. However, when he signed his Letter of Intent on National Signing Day, the opportunity that drove him was the chance to play under Mike Locksley at New Mexico.

Smith had always considered the Lobos and has taken official and unofficial visits to Albuquerque but with schools like Florida State, Alabama, Tennessee and Illinois also as official visit stops, it seemed that New Mexico was a long shot to land his signature. Clearly, that wasn't the case.

"Calvin is a leader not a follower and he wanted to go somewhere that he could be the bell cow of the class and really leave his mark at a school," said Lou Smith, Calvin's father. "He wanted to go to New Mexico and be the next Brian Urlacher. He wants to have that kind of an impact."

While Smith was ready to pave his own path at New Mexico, he would not have found his way there if not for the recruiting job done by Mike Locksley, along with defensive line coach Rubin Carter.

"At the end of the day, Calvin just fell in love with Mike Locksley," his father said. "And he loved the defensive line coach Rubin Carter. He's an original throwback coach, just an all-natural coach. He feels like he can help him learn the things he needs to get to the next level. He's been there and knows what it takes to get there."

The process was not an easy one for Smith. After committing to Tennessee, the four-star defensive tackle opened his recruitment back up with the departure of Lane Kiffin and his staff. Smith then took an official visit to Alabama, followed by an official to New Mexico the following weekend.

As a senior, Smith played alongside four-star Corey Lemonier, forming one of the top defensive line tandems in the nation. With his commitment to New Mexico, Smith becomes the highest rated player in New Mexico's 2010 class but is joined by fellow Floridian and three-star prospect Tarean Austin who committed to the Lobos on Saturday.


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