Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft four-star athlete Malcolm Smith took his time with the recruiting process, but today, one of California's top rated players made his decision known to the world.
Rivals.com was there for his exclusive announcement, which came on the wings of a decision made just days ago.
"I'm letting everyone know that I've decided to attend the University of Southern California for the next four years," said Smith. "USC was just in my heart, and basically, that's what this decision came down to."
Smith, who had 31 tackles and four fumble recovers in just seven games a as senior, selects the Trojans over scholarship offers from Cal, Notre Dame, UCLA, Penn State, Michigan and others.
"In retrospect, the recruiting process was a lot of fun," said Smith. "The long plane rides weren't that fun, but overall, this was a great experience.
"I thank all of the coaches who were a part of it. The toughest part to all of this was calling the coaches I turned down."
Smith's final decision pitted traditional rivals, USC and Notre Dame, in a close recruiting battle down the stretch. According to Malcolm, his recent official visit to USC had a huge impact on his decision.
"My official visits were very important," said Smith. "I really needed to see everything from each school with my own eyes. This was a decision that was about football, academics and my relationship with the coaching staff.
"Honestly, I really didn't know where I was going until this week. I was torn between SC and Notre Dame, so this was not an easy decision to make. I thought about holding off on my commitment, but now I'm excited to let everyone know that I'm a Trojan."
Smith's interest in USC was immediate, but as the recruiting process evolved, doubts surfaced about becoming a Trojan.
"When I first got the offer, I was really excited," said Smith. "I wasn't sure if USC was right for me as time went on, but now I'm positive that it's the best fit."
While this decision rests squarely on the shoulders of Smith, he admits that everyone in his family helped direct him to his final college choice.
"I got a lot of facts from my family," said Smith. "With my brother (Steve Smith) already at the next level, he told me how things really were. He gave me an idea of what to expect, and an idea of what was going to be expected of me.
"Everybody in my family had their opinions about each of my final three schools, but I know they support me no matter what. I think we're all just happy to get this over with."
With his bother Steve winning two national championships at USC, Malcolm is ready to continue the family's football success for another four years. In short, he can't wait to be a Trojan.
"I definitely want to play early and show people what I can do," said Smith. "I'm ready to work hard, and I'm open to learning a lot early on. I think USC is building for the future, and I want to be a part of that."
Off the field, Smith will major in Civil Engineering. On the field, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound outside linebacker brings versatility to an already impressive line-up.
"I do bring versatility to the linebacker position," said Smith. "I've played linebacker, running back, receiver . . . all kinds of positions. I think once I stay at one position and learn, it's going to make me a much better player.
"Still, because I've played a lot of different positions, I bring a lot of different aspects to my game. I can run, tackle and catch, so that gives me an advantage."
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more exclusive content from Malcolm Smith's commitment to the Trojans!