Gamecocks in final two for local quarterback, but they want him to play defense

·3 min read
Jeff Blake/Jeff Blake Photo

Spring Valley coach Robin Bacon has no doubts that DQ Smith will make an impact playing college football. It’s just a matter of what side of the ball Smith will choose to do his damage.

The Spring Valley senior quarterback has narrowed his college choices to South Carolina and Georgia Southern, and is getting close to making a decision.

If Smith picks the hometown Gamecocks, he would be playing safety for USC and be part of Shane Beamer’s second recruiting class. If he heads to Georgia Southern, it will be as a quarterback for first-year coach Clay Helton. The senior was a three-year starter and was named all-state selection as the Vikings’ signal caller.

“Either one I choose, I feel I will fit in perfectly,” Smith told The State Tuesday night. “I know I could do both. It is about a hard work ethic and being dedicated to doing it.

“Wherever I’m going, there are two great coaches that want to put me in the right spot I want to be in. That is what made this process so hard.”

Smith plans to announce his decision before early signing period begins Dec. 15 and will enroll in January wherever he goes. Both schools have made their final pushes for Smith, who was selected to play in the I-20 Palmetto Classic with other Midlands seniors on Friday at Camden High’s Zemp Stadium.

Smith said he hears from defensive backs coach Torrian Gray or defensive coordinator Clayton White almost every day. Gray was at the Vikings’ playoff game against Nation Ford, and Smith took a visit to USC for the Florida game.

“The biggest selling point for USC is their coaching staff,” Smith said. “They have separated themselves from the other schools. I understand it is playing defense, but I know at some point I would have to make changes.”

The Gamecocks, who offered Smith in February, have seven defensive back commits for the class. Smith hasn’t played defensive back full-time since his freshman year but played it a lot in middle school.

“The great thing about him is, he could do both,” Bacon said. “He is a tough kid, physical kid who can play safety at a Division I program. But he wants to play quarterback, so that is what is wrestling with him right now.

“He is just a great kid. He is a guy you want in the locker room because he makes everyone better.”

New Georgia Southern coach Clay Helton was at Spring Valley on Tuesday to see Smith. He originally planned for an in-home visit Monday but plane trouble pushed things back a day. Helton was hired as the Eagles’ coach on Nov. 2, a couple months after he was fired in his eighth season at Southern Cal.

Helton wants Smith to lead his pro-style offensive attack. Currently, Georgia Southern has no QB commits for the Class of 2022. Smith’s Spring Valley teammate Ky Tao also is committed to the Eagles.

Smith threw for just over 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns this year and rushed for more than 500 and 14 TDs.

“Coach Helton is a great coach and has the experience with his background working with quarterbacks,” Smith said. “I like the offense they are running and I think I would fit perfectly there.”

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