Oregon State Beavers assistant coach Jason Phillips is one of the coaches on staff in charge of recruiting the Southeast region.
So, when Oregon State cornerback Treston Decoud told him to check out the tape of Eddie Smith, a player Phillips had never heard of, he wasn't sure what to expect.
It's safe to say he was impressed.
Smith, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback out of Salmen High School (Slidell, Louisiana), picked up an offer from the Beavers recently, which immediately established them as a top contender.
"I talk to the DB coach, Coach Hall, a lot," he said. "But the one who offered me was Coach Phillips. He told me that he was shocked that he never heard about me. Treston told him about me and he watched my film. He said he was shocked and that I was underrated."
Decoud and Smith's parents are close and the pair of defensive backs grew up together.
That relationship has Smith hoping to follow Decoud's path.
"Me and Treston grew up together, our parents were close and I always wanted to be just like him - even when he was in high school I looked up to him," Smith said. "I still look up to him and want to follow in his footsteps."
With early offers from Ball State, Marshall, Memphis, Tulane and others, Oregon State stands out as not only Smith's biggest offer to date, but also the one he most cherishes.
"That's real, real big, because that's been my dream school ever since Treston went there," he said. "That's my biggest offer I ever got - Pac-12. I was real, real happy when I got it."
But what began as a desire to follow in his older friend's footsteps has developed into an appreciation for what Oregon State can offer.
Decoud has discussed the importance of an education and the value of a coaching staff's trust.
Smith feels he can get that and more in Corvallis.
"We talk a lot," he said. "(Treston) told me that Oregon State showed him the most love and it felt like home. He loved it when he got there. He felt like Oregon State was the best place for him and the place he could ball out the most. That's why he chose it. He said it was a good school and that I could do what I needed to do to graduate."
It's early in the recruiting process, but Oregon State already appears to have a good shot at an underrated cornerback from the heart of SEC Country.
-- Andrew Nemec
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