Address: 2250 Perry Boulevard NW
City: Atlanta, GA
Web site: http://apskids.org/washington/
|Name||Rating||Ht./Wt.||High School||Position||Colleges Considering|
|Antonio Goodwin||No Rating||6'2"/170||Washington High School||Wide receiver||Auburn|
|Branden Smith||A+||5'11"/170||Washington High School||Cornerback||Georgia|
Smith played in all but three games for UGA his freshman year. He made 13 tackles and four pass defenses in 2009.
Branden Smith, who has Florida and Alabama among his finalists, was named Gatorade's Georgia Player of the Year. The 6-foot, 170-pound Smith is also considering Georgia and Florida State, and is scheduled to have an in-home visit with Florida's coaches on Sunday. Smith plays defensive back at Booker T. Washington. Smith said that Tennessee is trying to make a late push. He took an official visit to Tennessee, but eliminated the Volunteers from consideration after Phil Fulmer's departure. Now that Lane Kiffin has been named Tennessee's coach, the SEC school is trying to get back in the picture with Smith. "I appreciate their consideration, but it's a little too late," Smith said. The Gatorade award is one of the nation's most prestigious for high school players. Former Georgia winners include Eric Berry and Taverres King. Smith, who is being recruited at cornerback, caught 32 passes for 1,085 yards this season. He returned 12 kickoffs for 481 yards and three touchdowns in addition to 20 punts for 456 yards and two scores. On defense, Smith recorded 50 tackles, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one sack. Smith is ranked as the state's No. 1 prospect by the AJC and Rivals.
If the loss to Georgia Tech is bothering UGA defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, he didn't show it when visiting the state's top prospect on Sunday night. Martinez, who has been criticized for UGA's defensive lapses, led a parade of six assistant coaches into the living room of Booker T. Washington cornerback Branden Smith on Sunday night. It was the first day of a three-week NCAA contact period allowed between college coaches and high school prospects. Martinez and Smith have developed a close relationship because Martinez, along with being defensive coordinator, also coaches UGA's defensive backs. "Coach Martinez was upbeat and energetic as usual, he didn't seem 'down' or anything," Smith said. "He didn't really talk long about the Georgia Tech loss. He said just said they made mistakes and got beat." "[Martinez] said if they had a player like me at cornerback and returning punts, then I could make a big difference in a game like that. Then he started talking about other things [involving recruiting]. The whole visit went really well." UGA's entourage of assistants spent Sunday making lengthy visits with the top two remaining in-state targets for its 2009 recruiting class, Smith and Carver-Columbus linebacker Jarvis Jones. Smith has Georgia, Florida, Florida State and Alabama as his four finalists. The Bulldogs were represented by Martinez, Rodney Garner, Mike Bobo, John Jancek, John Lilly and Stacy Searels. Earlier on Sunday, Georgia coach Mark Richt said he didn't expect any changes among his staff for next season.
Branden Smith, who is ranked as the state's No. 1 prospect by the AJC and Rivals, said if was up to his mother, he'd be headed to UGA. Smith laughed on Monday morning when he was asked about his mother's first meeting with UGA's coaches on Sunday night. Six assistants, including defensive coordinator Willie Martinez and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner, filed into Smith's living room around 7 p.m. for the 90-minute meeting. There were so many people that Smith's mother, Teresa Wynn, had to bring in two extra chairs from the kitchen. "My mom had those coaches laughing because she kept saying how much she liked Georgia and how much she would like to see me play there ... and she said it at least four times," Smith said with a chuckle. "The Georgia coaches really liked hearing that. They said 'if your mom keeps saying that, then it must be a good thing for us.'" When Smith was asked if he was going to follow his mother's advice, he said, "I love my mom and I listen to everything she says. She really likes Georgia, but she also wants me to go to the school that is the best fit for me. She said she will love and support me with whichever school I choose." Smith, who plays cornerback at Booker T. Washington, said he has no favorites among his four finalists of Georgia, Florida, Florida State and Alabama. He will announce a college decision on Jan. 4.
UGA's top two remaining in-state recruiting targets are Booker T. Washington cornerback Branden Smith and Carver-Columbus linebacker Jarvis Jones. UGA sent six assistant coaches into the homes of both players on Sunday, which was the first day of a three-week NCAA contact period. Smith said actions speak louder than words, and the fact that UGA visited on the opening day meant a lot. "They said they came straight here after talking with Jarvis," Smith said. "They feel like if both of us came to Georgia, that they might have the best recruiting class in the country." Ironically, both Smith and Jones spent the previous day together at Florida State: Smith was making an official visit, while Jones was on an unofficial trip. The two have developed a friendship after making the rounds on the recruiting circuit over the past year. "I asked Jarvis how recruiting was going and he said 'just fine' and that he had 'no idea which college he was going to pick,'" Smith said. "So we're sort of in the same situation. I feel like I have four great colleges to choose from, and I really can't go wrong by picking any of the four." Smith has made official visits to FSU, Florida and Alabama, and will go to UGA on Dec. 12. He plans to make his college announcement on Jan. 4. Smith said he got soaked in the rain while watching FSU's loss to Florida, but still had fun. He met with FSU coach Bobby Bowden. "[Bowden] said all I had to do was to watch the game to see how badly they need some defensive backs," Smith said. "He said they really needed me, and very quickly. He made a point of telling me how many defensive backs Florida State has put into the NFL over the years." Smith again said he has no favorites among his four finalists. Jones has taken only one official visit (USC) and said he will travel to Texas, Florida, Georgia and LSU in January.