Smith Could Add Local Flavor to Position

Ever since the "Homeboys" offensive line of the 1987 Rose Bowl championship year, the Sun Devils have prided themselves in landing the best offensive linemen the state has to offer. This recruiting year the quest continues as ASU pursues Allen Smith. DevilsDigest talked to Smith about the possibility of playing for the hometown team.

The 6-5 325 Corona Del Sol standout has a slew of scholarship offers on his table. Schools such as Notre Dame, UCLA, Washington, Michigan, Northwestern, Oregon, and Stanford (pending his application) have all extended offers. If the Devils are to sign this fine lineman it probably will in large due to loyalty. "ASU offered back in February." Recalls Smith, "They were the first and the only ones for quite a while to offer."

Aside from playing at a high school located in Tempe less than ten miles from the ASU campus, Smith is familiar with the program through former players and even his mom. "(incoming freshman and fellow offensive lineman) Mike Pollack and (ex-Sun Devil) James Beal both had nothing but good things to say about Arizona State…My mother is a professor in the Sociology department there, so I got to see a lot of the campus and the facilities and it's very nice." Spoken like a true offensive lineman, Smith was awed by the weight room. "It was voted #1 by Sport Illustrated, and I was impressed by that and the strength coach. Mike Pollack told me how rigorous the conditioning program is. We have a pretty good weight-training program in high school, but he told me that at ASU they take it to another level. I thought that was real interesting, and I would like to go to one of the workouts these days."

Considering all these familiarity factors, one would think that Allen Smith is a slam-dunk verbal commitment. However, the lineman somewhat surprises with his answer. "The fact that my mom teaches at ASU, and Mike Pollack is a good friend, will probably have little weight on my decision. I have one brother that graduated Dartmouth and another one goes to the University of Virginia. I love Pollack to death, but he's not gonna be with me ten years from now (smile). So it all really comes to where I feel comfortable. I've grown around ASU, and comfort is a non-issue there. While that's a plus, I did promise my Mom that I will explore all options even though she loves ASU."

Pollack who isn't only a good friend, but also an ex-high school teammate has started the recruiting pitch early and often. "Earlier in the year I wasn't planning on taking an official visit to ASU. I was thinking how awkward it would be because it's right next-door, and there's not much they can show me that I haven't seen already. But he made me promise that I will take an official visit, and him and I will hang (smile). He would love for me to go there, and we played very well together, but he hasn't been calling me every night telling me to come ASU. But he won't say that another school looks good and tell me to go there. He'll always tells me to go to ASU (smile)."

Even though his stature is imposing, the Corona Del Sol standout feels that his strength has a long ways to go. "I'm strong in pass blocking and down blocking. People say I have great feet. I've gotten a lot better in going against linebackers, and pulling which is very important in our scheme. Right now my only weakness is that I have to be much stronger than I am right now. I'm 325 lbs, but my overall strength could be better. The quarterback is benching 310 and I'm benching 325. That's not good, I have 100 pounds on this kid (smile)." Smith is also an acclaimed shot put thrower, and desires to continue and pursue that sport in whichever college he ends up at. "I would love to do track and field in college if the coaches let me and I had the time. I'm naturally gifted in football, but I really have really taken to shot put. The nice thing about track and field is that it's individual events and it's all on you to perform. You can't to blame anyone else."

"As of right now I'm enjoying the recruiting process." Says Smith, "But it will get harder down the road. I don't have a lot of time, and making the time to make this decision will be difficult in the long run. I have to explore all my options…I want to play football for the rest of my life. I may get a little flustered with it and the recruiting, but I know my family will be there to support me."

Smith told us that he hasn't scheduled any official visits yet; in fear that it will affect his senior season at the Tempe high school he attends. I'm concentrating on getting stronger for the football year, and being a leader for my team - I owe them that much. I do know that I will take a couple of mid-season visits, and a couple after the season before the crunch time comes. I'm making my decision February 4th. I will need that much time. It is a big decision."

Allen Smith is considered by as one of the top offensive lineman in the West. That being said, it's refreshing and perhaps surprising to hear how humble he is in regards to his accolades and future prospects. "I was hoping to get recruited so I can play football at the next level, but I wasn't expecting this type of response. Last year our team was 6-4, so I knew I couldn't be that good (smile). But I guess a lot of people have seen in me some good things. I'm gonna make sure I deliver." The maroon and gold faithful are likely yearning for that delivery route to come to a final stop just a few miles north on Rural Road…

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