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July 8, 2014

Breaking: Vanderbilt lands top target

Vanderbilt added a major piece to its 2015 recruiting effort on Wednesday with the commitment of Murfreesboro standout linebacker Josh Smith.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound four-star prospect out of Oakland High made his decision live on ESPNU while participating in the NIKE SPARQ Opening event at the NIKE Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

Regarded as the number one target on the Commodores recruiting board, Smith quickly became a must get for new head coach Derek Mason and his staff once the group took over in mid January.

Blessed with tremendous length, range and downhill tackling ability, Smith has been seen as an ideal fit by the Commodore staff for the defenses new 3-4 scheme.

Smith ultimately chose the Commodores over a final four that included Kentucky, Penn State and Purdue, but the Rivals250 prospect also received scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Virginia during his recruiting process.

As a junior at Oakland, Smith played a vital role in the Patriots breakout 12-1 season that included a District 7-AAA championship, statewide No. 1 ranking for several weeks and trip to the quarterfinals of the Class 6A playoffs. The All-Midstate standout registered 82 tackles with eight tackles for loss, two sacks, three forced fumbles and eight pass breakups.

Smith participated in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour last month in Baltimore and was also a recent standout at Vanderbilt's first-ever Friday Night Lights camp.

Smith becomes the seventh prospect to officially commit to Vanderbilt for the 2015 cycle, joining fellow mid-state Rivals250 prospect Donovan Sheffield on the defensive side of the ball.

Smith will also join his brother Emmanuel Smith, a promising freshman defensive back, at Vanderbilt next fall.

Rivals.com ranks Josh Smith at 190th in its Rivals250 rankings and 12th among outside linebacker prospects. He also ranks 5th in the networks preseason Top 30 state rankings for Tennessee. VandySports.com recently ranked Smith as the No. 1 target in its Vandy Dozen target rankings.

VandySports.com and Rivals.com plan to have more on Smith's commitment throughout the night and coming days.

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