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Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Austintown Fitch’s Cam Smith walks off the field after the Falcons’ walk-off win against the Boardman on October 15th, 2021. Smith recently committed to play football at Iowa State.

It started as a simple interaction on social media.

A couple of months ago, Austintown Fitch standout Cam Smith picked up a follow on Twitter from Iowa State safeties coach Deon Broomfield. Last week, it culminated in Smith committing to continue his football career with the Cyclones as a safety.

Smith also held offers from Kentucky, Marshall, Bowling Green, Army, Toledo, Akron, Youngstown State, Illinois State and Central Michigan.

In his announcement on Twitter, Smith said, “First and foremost, I’d like to thank the Lord above for guiding me through this whole process. Secondly, I’d like to thank my family for supporting and believing in me throughout this crazy, life-changing ride. I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without them. I would also like to thank my coaches, teachers, trainers and Austintown Fitch High School for doing everything in their power to turn me into the student and player I am today. This program has taught me life lessons that I will continue to hold on to for the rest of my life. Lastly, I’d like to give a huge thanks to all the college coaches who have taken a chance on me during this process.

“With that being said, I’m humbled and honored to announce that I am committing to Iowa State University to continue my academic and athletic career.”

What set the Cyclones apart for Smith was the people within the Iowa State program and how “Genuine” things felt.

When Broomfield initially followed Smith, Smith said he reached out and told Broomfield he’d like to talk on the phone sometime. As the conversations began, Smith said ISU’s staff told him they “Love my tape and all that, but they’re going to be patient with me.”

A couple of weeks ago, Smith received a call and was informed a full scholarship offer was approved by head coach Matt Campbell. Last Monday, Smith went out for a visit.

“As soon as I came in there, it was really genuine,” Smith said. “It just felt like I was a part of their family already. I’m not saying anywhere else didn’t make me feel like that, but sometimes there’s a lot of fakeness in the recruiting process, but I could tell it was meaningful to them that I wanted to be there. ”

Campbell’s relationships with his players also played a role.

“I saw a couple of videos of Coach Campbell, in one video in particular, they got teared up that their seniors were leaving,” Smith said. “That showed me he really cared about his players. He loved them as men and he would look to push them to be better men and better athletes, and that meant a lot to me. ”

Smith, who plans to study something finance or business-related, is eager to get back out to Ames, as he got he plans to graduate from Austintown Fitch a semester early so he can enroll at ISU in January. He hopes to hit the ground running and find immediate playing time.

“If I could become a starter, that’s a goal, and then my long-term goal is I want to be All-Big 12 for all four years I’m there,” he said. “If that doesn’t happen, then three years for sure, and then I also want to make one of my main goals on the top of the list to bring a championship back to Ames.

“With our recruiting class, we could do that. I’ve already been talking to a couple of guys that committed to the defensive side, and I think we can do it. ”

Smith is also excited at the chance to play in a pass-first conference, as the Big 12 features high-octane air raid schemes.

“Obviously being a defensive back, I love to hear that because I love making a play on the ball,” Smith said. “Obviously I’ll come down and tackle, but my main thing is just coverage. I love that part of it. I think I can thrive in (the Big 12), especially playing safety and the position (Iowa State will) put me in. ”

Before he takes off, though, Smith has some final aspirations with Fitch. He got he’s aiming for an all-state selection as a safety this fall, and wants to bring a state title back to Austintown.

And now, with his recruitment closed, he says he’s relieved.

“Obviously it’s a big relief,” Smith explained. “The recruiting process can get stressful at times, especially that it goes on with school and other sports you’re in and camp season. That can be really stressful, and it’s a big weight lifted off my shoulders to know I have a place that wants me, and I want them. ”

jwhetzel@tribtoday.com

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