Busy January Awaits Allen Smith

The Corona Del Sol offensive lineman welcomed the recruiting dead period, because "things have gotten pretty hectic the last few weeks." One look at his schedule for the next few weeks turns hectic into a lowly understatement. In this exclusive DevilsDigest interview, Smith talked about his feelings towards the hometown Sun Devils, as well as other recruiting matters.

There were many reports over Smith's positive overwhelming feelings following his UCLA visit. Are the Bruins his favorite school right now? "That might have been true up until a couple of days ago" said Smith, "when I got word that the offensive line coach there was let go. I did enjoy my visit, even though I didn't have the type of relationship with their coach as I do with (ASU's) coach Grimes - that wasn't a factor. But I'm very uncomfortable with coaching instability. That doesn't take away from the fact that I absolutely love the players, and that's gonna be big in my decision."

The lineman will visit Stanford on the 16th. Smith feels that after that trip he does anticipate the order of his favorite schools to take shape, and shed a brighter light on what's now a pretty foggy recruiting picture. "I'm very much looking forward to visiting Stanford," remarked Smith. "Not so much for any other reason but to solidify who's on my list in the 1-2-3 positions."

Smith's final official visit will be to Tennessee on the 23rd. However, prior to that trip he does intend on visiting the Sun Devils unofficially. Furthermore, he will arrange for another unofficial visit to Notre Dame subsequent to his Tennessee trip. The exact dates for those two trips will be established in a couple of weeks or so. The timing of unofficial visits this late in the recruiting season is quite peculiar. Nevertheless, Smith's explanation is a sound one.

"After taking my recent visit to UCLA," stated Smith, "I realized that taking visits in (high school football) season, while they were beneficial because I got to see a game and the locker room after the game; it hindered a lot of the exposure with the team because I only got one day with them."

"I didn't feel that it was fair to ASU or Notre Dame," continued Smith. "I really saw that taking a visit for one day (as oppose to two days) really makes a difference. Even though I know ASU like the back of my hand, what I really want to do is to spend as much time with the players as possible."

Both of his unofficial trips will take place during the spring semester of those respective colleges. Smith feels that this fact carries many positives that can aid him in his decision, especially during his ASU visit. "During the semester I can shadow some of my friends around school," claimed Smith. "I can see how their routine is, how they manage academics, which is a big part of it along with the football aspect. I also want to see their off-season training. I've never been in the school while in session, unless I was going to a class with my mother (who is a professor at ASU). I think just being there will overall be more beneficial."

Taking in consideration his due diligence with his visits, one would assume that the lineman would never dream of verbaling prior to that last Notre Dame trip. However, Smith won't commit to that theory. "I don't make anything definite," he said. "I told all the coaches I've been talking to that I'm definitely not trying to draw this out. I understand how when you draw it out, schools have an agenda and they're trying to sign people. If you're not one of those being signed now, they may not have a spot for you later."

One school that is willing to wait indefinitely for Allen Smith are the Sun Devils. "ASU said that they would save me a spot as long as it takes, and that makes me feel extremely comfortable."

When you learn of the relationship he has with coach Grimes, Arizona State's stance comes as little surprise. What has made this relationship between ASU's offensive line coach and Smith so special? "Honestly I really don't know (smile)," Smith said. "Out of all my visits, he's been the coach I've felt most comfortable with, and comfort is a big thing for me. In all of our conversations he's been very honest. He's been giving me a lot of good advice in issues not relating to ASU. For some reason, I just have a connection with him that I haven't had with anyone else."

Whether Smith desires to play close to home or not, could naturally be a driving factor in his decision to play for a school located ten or so miles from his house. Nonetheless, the lineman isn't quite sure how he feels about this issue. "Being the youngest of three brothers," he said, "I kind of have more of a clinginess than they did. They wanted to get away as quickly as possible, and I'm a Mama's Boy."

"My oldest brother just graduated Dartmouth," Smith continued. "And the second oldest attends Virginia. I noticed that no matter how far my brothers go, they always find their way back to Arizona. I don't know what that means, but I know that if I go to ASU I can have less connection or more connection with my family. It's up to you to make it what you want."

While his immediate family hasn't been pulling him in one specific direction or another, can the same be said about his friends and members of the community acting in the same manner? "I'd be lying if I said they're not pressuring me," stated Smith. "A lot of people want me to stay at ASU, so they can watch me play. A lot of my best friends are going there, so there is a little pressure like that."

"But this is one of those choices where they know that they don't understand the football aspect," Smith continued. "While they want me to go to ASU, they also want me to go to the place that's best for me. The people that are pressuring me are also the people that care the most about me. So while I get that pressure it isn't that big of a thing."

And so the wait for his decision continues…

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