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Insider

Junior day clears things up for Smith

2/24/2013

LOS ANGELES -- For John "JuJu" Smith, USC's junior day was about clarity.

Lane Kiffin pulled the electric Long Beach (Calif.) Poly two-way standout aside Sunday afternoon and asked him which side of the ball he prefers. Smith was blunt, telling the Trojans coach the defensive side of the ball is great, but playing offense makes him happy.

Then, according to Smith, Kiffin told the ESPN Watch List member he can play wherever he wants at USC.

“I don’t want to play a position where I’m not happy,” Smith said. “I like defense, but I don’t want to have any regrets.”

Kiffin then told the story of reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee, who was mostly recruited as a safety in high school. It was music to Smith's ears.

“We touched on my offer and where I’m being recruited, and Coach Kiffin said it’s up to me where I want to play,” Smith said. “Honestly it’s receiver for me. A lot of my offers are at safety but I like offense.”

It was Smith’s first stop by campus since receiving an offer from USC on Jan. 31. He brought along high school teammate Jason Fao, a 6-foot-1, 250-pound lineman.

“It was pretty awesome,” Smith said. “This was special because it’s by invitation only. I like the coaches. It felt like home since they all knew my name. I have great connection with them. They talked about academics, then toward the end it was all about football.”

Smith also gained more details on his recruitment. Following the firing of assistant coach Kennedy Polamalu -- who initially offered Smith -- receivers coach Tee Martin is now in charge of his recruitment, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound athlete said.

“I’m going to commit after the high school season,” Smith said. “I’m going to do my research. I need to see all the schools. I need to see how schools are looking during the year, need to see how coaches are doing. I don’t want to be one of those guys that just commits and changes his mind.”