McElwain’s beard and personality impressed Smith on Saturday

The Florida Gators had a rare Saturday practice this weekend and they had several prospects on campus to watch that practice.

Safety C.J. Smith (6-2, 193, West Palm Beach, FL. Oxbridge Academy) was one of those guys on campus and he got to see a lot of things on Saturday.

“It was pretty good, everything went smooth,” Smith said. “We got to tour the facilities, the academic places, talk to the coaches and watch spring practice. They were in full pads and we got to watch a couple of inside runs and a couple of one-on-ones.”

The Gators have hosted Smith before but this was the first time for the safety to have his family join him on the trip and they were impressed by Florida.

“This was my third time up here so I was letting my mom and granddad enjoy it,” he said. “They loved it, she loved mostly everything. The academic stuff mostly and they really liked Coach [Jim] McElwain.”

Defensive backs Corey Bell has been recruiting Smith for a few years now and on Saturday he shared why the Gators were a program on the rise.

“Coach Bell was speaking positive thoughts and it’s just great to be around him,” Smith said of his talks with Corey Bell. “He said that Florida is a great place and that he and JaJuan Seider have things in their hands so it’s going to be a changing program there.”

Bell and running backs coach JaJuan Seider have been speaking with Smith the most and they both told him where they see him playing at in Gainesville.

“They want me at free safety,” he said of what position Florida told him. “Coach Seider just says that he would love to see me on the defensive side of the ball for them.”

Smith and his family also got the chance to meet with Gators head coach Jim McElwain who had a different look to him that caught Smith’s attention.

“It was great seeing him and he said it was great to see me. He grew out his beard this time, it was pretty funny,” Smith said of McElwain. “He was talking to me about both football and academics. He was asking me about my test scores, they’re pretty good and my grades are up there too.”

While on campus Smith got to watch the Gators practice and he was impressed by Florida’s speed.

“It was pretty good, it was fast moving,” he said of Florida’s practice. “It was competitive and quick. They’re really fast on defense and I feel like I fit in with them.”

Heading into the visit Florida was leading for Smith and the safety says the Gators helped themselves even more on Saturday.

“I think it helped them, I feel more relaxed and comfortable with them,” Smith said on if this visit helped Florida. “Florida is still my leader.”


INSIDERS TAKE: Smith says he thinks he will wait awhile to make a decision but he didn’t have a timeframe for that decision. Florida is definitely a school he likes a lot and his relationship with Bell and Seider are a big reason for that.



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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, 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.