COLUMBIA, SC (TheBigSpur) - South Carolina began the process of filling a major need Monday night when class of 2014 four-star cornerback D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton) gave his pledge to the Gamecocks on The NEW College Football Show: Next Class 2014 on FOX Sports South.
The 6-foot, 191-pounder chose the Gamecocks over finalists Clemson and Tennessee. He also held offers from Arkansas, Georgia and Florida, among a host of others.
"First what made me commit was I have such a great relationship with (Gamecocks' secondary) coach Grady Brown," Smith told 247Sports Cory Fravel. "He's been keeping it real with me since my recruitment began. Also they have a system which allows me to play aggressive and make plays, and most importantly I'm able to try to start getting playing time my freshman year."
Smith, who is ranked the No. 25 cornerback in the country by 247Sports, was recruited to Carolina by quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus, who he called his favorite recruiter throughout the process.
Smith will take his official visit to South Carolina this weekend and says he could also still take official visits to Tennessee and Miami.
Smith, who has a rating of 0.9373 in the industry-generated 247Sports Composite, is considered the No. 12 cornerback in that ranking system.
Smith took an unofficial visit to South Carolina for the Gamecocks' November victory over Florida, which is when they made their move.
"I enjoyed hanging out with both Chris Moody and also T.J. Gurley," Smith said of the trip.
The nation's No. 129 overall prospect, according to the 247Sports Composite, will start out at cornerback but could also help the Gamecocks at safety in his career.
"I see my self playing both but probably more corner," Smith said.
Smith described his strengths as a player.
"I think I bring hustle and I'm just a playmaker," Smith said. "I think I'm that guy who makes the first initial play that gets the defense going."
Mangus already has landed four-star defensive end Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett) in this recruiting cycle and has South Carolina in the game for four-star defensive end Dexter Wideman (Saluda/Saluda) and five-star offensive tackle Damian Prince (District Heights, Md./Bishop McNamara).
Brown has already landed cornerback commitment Al Harris Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) and has the Gamecocks in the mix for four-star cornerbacks four-star players Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation), who he's the recruiter of record for, and Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King Jr.), who he's assisting defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward with.
Smith is the Gamecocks' 17th commitment of the 2014 class. With Smith's commitment, Gamecocks jump to No. 21 in the 247Composite team rankings.
Smith is considered the No. 7 prospect in Georgia in the 247Sports Composite and the No. 30 prospect in Georgia by 247Sports.