Breaking Down the Board: JuJu Smith

JuJu Smith begins a series examining the remaining offered, uncommitted prospects on Notre Dame's 2014 board with five-star safety JuJu Smith of Lon Beach (Calif.) Poly High.

Juju Smith

Position: Safety
High school: Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Height: : 6-1 1/2
Weight: 185

The competition: Smith is the top-rated safety in the class, and the Irish are in contention. He knows the five schools he will officially visit, and he has dates set for four of them.
Smith will be at Ohio State the weekend of Sept. 28, and he will be at Notre Dame the weekend of Oct. 18. He also has trips scheduled to Alabama (Nov. 9) and Michigan (Nov. 30) and will visit Ole Miss, although he is yet to set a date for that trip. He said he wants it to be during the season so he can experience the game atmosphere.
However, just because those are his five official visits doesn't mean he is down to five schools. Smith plans on making unofficial visits to California and nearby USC and UCLA.

What he brings: Smith is projected as a safety, but he is a true athlete who could also excel on the offensive side of the field. He is long and wildly athletic, he has tremendous burst and he runs well. Smith is fluid and sees the game well.
As a receiver, he has the speed to separate. As a safety, he can cover sideline to sideline, and he comes into the box and will make a tackle. He tracks the ball well and he uses his size to attack the ball and catch it at its highest point.
His hands are ever-improving, and that is not say he is doesn't catch well, but it is an area he is working on.

The situation: The Irish are contending with other big-time schools, and getting an official visit is huge. Long Beach Poly and USC have long had a relationship, and the former staff at Cal did well recruiting at the school.
However, Notre Dame's mix of academics, its return to national prominence and the style of defense it plays works in its favor, and gives the Irish a real shot at Smith.

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