Long Beach Poly has of the best high school football programs in the country.
Located in southern California, Poly has sent players such as Willie McGinest, Marcedes Lewis, Winston Justice and DeSean Jackson to the NFL.
The 2013 season will be crucial for the Jackrabbits, who will look to add to its 19 California Interscholastic Federation titles. Poly will also attempt to reach the California Division 1 state championship game for the second year in a row.
The player charged with taking a lead role is John Smith, known as "JuJu", per 247Sports (subscription required).
Smith is an excellent athlete who can play several positions. He's clearly worth a closer look.
He's an outstanding prospect from southern California who plays receiver and safety.
As a junior Smith, was one of the best players in California as a junior. He had had 51 tackles and six interceptions as a safety, and 49 receptions for 752 yards and nine TDs as a receiver.
At 6'1" and 200 pounds, John Smith is an explosive athlete with quick-twitch movement skills. He has natural ability on the field as a receiver or safety.
Smith shows excellent release quickness, as he can launch upfield and threaten safeties with his speed.
He has good strength to fight press coverage and has no issues in bursting out of his cuts to create separation. Smith also flashes the elusiveness to avoid linebackers when going across the middle, where he displays the athletic ability to adjust to balls thrown around him.
He has great instincts as a runner, shows good vision to find open areas and owns the speed to outrun defenders to the end zone. Smith has a high ceiling as a receiver and could be a great returner.
Smith has outstanding hip flexibility and agility.
He can shoot out of transition to sprint anywhere on the field. Smith also has solid ball-location skills, as he can squeeze the line of scrimmage and chase running backs around the box.
He displays the range to roam as a single safety, where his vision and ball skills are assets against passing plays.
Smith must improve his ability to fight jams with his hands. He also must expand his catch radius, as he lets the football get into his body too often, and he will need to become more precise when running routes. He rounds off some of his cuts and does not always set up defenders.
Although Smith locates the football quickly against the run, he needs to be more decisive. Smith can wait too long to attack the line of scrimmage to make tackles in the box. He needs to continue improving his ability to read routes on passing plays. Smith also has limited experience in man coverage.
This clip is a highlight reel of Smith, put together by B/R's Full Ride video team. On the second play of the clip, Smith's ability to quickly locate the ball and squeeze the line of scrimmage is on display.
At 0:57 of the clip, watch as Smith uses great release quickness and speed to jump on top of the secondary to establish himself as a deep threat.
Here is another round of highlights of John Smith showcasing his talent. On the first play, note the definition in Smith's arms, a sign of a player with strength.
He makes several amazing plays during this clip, where several catches display Smith's awareness and athleticism.
USC, Michigan, Notre Dame, UCLA, Ohio State and Alabama are several of the schools which have offered Smith a scholarship, according to 247Sports.
However, it is still early in Smith's recruitment, so any prediction may be premature.
Smith has a bright future as a safety or receiver. Based on watching his film, Smith's better position is safety. He has excellent movement skills, along with impressive ball skills and athleticism.
He could be a good college receiver, but Smith will be an NFL safety.