He is the first Class of 2013 prospect to commit to the Nittany Lions since the program was hit with NCAA sanctions late last month.
“Jordan is a high-energy guy at practice and in the weight room, and he's adamant about football and academics,” Woodson assistant coach Wendy Johnson said. “He's always been interested in Penn State throughout the years, and he knows some guys up there. He always gave me the impression he wanted to go there.”
Smith was recruited by Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, and that connection was key in the eyes of the longtime Woodson coach.
“Coach Johnson is a really good guy, and a guy most of the kids trust because he's genuine and straight up and what it's all about,” Johnson said. “He knows they can play football, but Coach Johnson really emphasizes being a real good man, being a good student and being a good athlete — in that order. Kudos to him for finding a kid like Jordan who fits that.”
Smith looked at Tennessee and Illinois as well as Colorado — a school that has become a hot spot for Woodson prospects — but ultimately chose Penn State because it was the school he always wanted to attend. The sanctions apparently did not impact his thoughts about the school.
“Jordan didn't let all this stuff play a role in the decision he wanted to make, he just decided between him and his family that Penn State was best for him,” Johnson said.