Florida leads for Austin Smith after a big visit

The need for linebackers at Florida is huge for the Class of 2015 and on Saturday the Gators hosted linebacker Austin Smith (6-3, 220, Buford, GA High) for the spring game.

Smith and his family arrived in Gainesville on Thursday and stayed until Saturday night and the Georgia linebacker stayed busy during his three day trip.

“The visit was nice, we got there on Thursday and checked into the hotel,” Smith said. “After that we went to campus and met with Coach [D.J.] Durkin and Coach [Will] Muschamp and they were talking to me about how they were going to use me in the defense. They said they could use me at Mike or Will linebacker and when I start gaining weight they will move me to the Sam or BUCK position.”

If Thursday wasn’t busy enough for Smith, Friday definitely was, as the linebacker got to sit through meetings with defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin.

“On Friday we went back to campus and went into the defensive meeting and the linebacker meeting,” Smith said. “They showed me how they break down film and how they go over the mistakes made on film. It was real good and Coach Durkin is hands on and one-on-one with each player. Coach Durkin doesn’t yell at his players but he goes over things to help them get better.”

Saturday was a little calmer for Smith as he had the chance to meet with the coaches before the spring game and then watch the Orange and Blue Debut.

“Saturday we went to campus for the spring game and before the game I met with Coach Muschamp and Coach D.J [Durkin] and told them good luck,” Smith said. “I told them that I hoped they would have no injuries and that they had a good game. After that I prayed with the team and went into the stands and watched the spring game.”

During the Orange and Blue game the Buford High prospect payed close attention to the defense and he liked what he saw.

“The defense was awesome on Saturday,” Smith said. “Even though the starters didn’t play a lot they still did well. The defense isn’t young anymore and they have experience now. Defense wins championships.”

During Smith’s three day trip to Gainesville he met with Durkin a lot and the defensive coordinator explained the Gators recruiting board to Smith.

“Coach Durkin said that they have offered 11 linebackers already but they didn’t sign any last year so they need a few this year,” Smith said. “He said that there are 3-4 players that have stars by their name which means they can play all the linebacker positions. He said that I have a star by my name and that the depth chart is very favorable for us young guys.”

When Smith wasn’t hanging out with the coaches or watching practice he was hanging out with two of Florida’s Buck linebackers.

“I got to hang out with Dante Fowler and Alex McCalister all weekend,” Smith said. “The players took me in like I had been there all my life. Coach Durkin assigned me to those guys and they took me under their wing. They were talking to me about doing everything right and how you don’t want to drink and you don’t want to smoke or anything like that. They were good role models to me and my teammate.”

Following the three day trip to Gainesville the Gators are Smith’s leader but a decision isn’t likely for sometime now.

“Florida is number one for me,” Smith said. “My family really wants me to wait it out a little while. They really want me to wait until after the season to make a decision. My parents really liked Florida and my mom really loved the academics at Florida.”

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.