Not long after assistant Alex Golesh made the move from Illinois to Iowa State, Chicago (IL) Brother Rice four-star receiver Ricky Smalling had new interest.
The 6-foot-1 Smalling, who holds Power 5 offers from the likes of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin in addition to Iowa State, already had a longstanding relationship with Golesh before he started hearing from the Cyclones around Christmas.
Saturday, he met Golesh again face-to-face on his first trip to Ames.
“I just wanted to make a visit to all of the places just to see different stuff and I decided to take my visit down there [to Iowa State],” Smalling said. “Coach Golesh, he used to work at Illinois, so me and him already had a good relationship and he told me he was down at Iowa State so he just told me to come check it out. I’ve known him since Illinois, so I know him pretty well. We met [last] summer and we kind of kept in touch.”
Smalling emerged in the playoffs for Brother Rice as a freshman and has been a fast-rising prospect ever since. The soon-to-be senior is currently ranked as the No. 51 overall receiver in 2017, and the eighth-best receiver in the Midwest.
Smalling is a physical, strong receiver who projects as an outside receiver at the collegiate level. With versatile receiver Joshua Johnson likely fitting in at the slot position for the Cyclones in the 2017 class, Smalling is a priority on the edge.
“I saw their offense yesterday and their offense is kind of similar to what we run at Brother Rice, so I understand it a lot,” said Smalling, who was in town for the team’s first spring scrimmage. “They get the ball in the air a lot, they throw a lot of screens and go routes and curls and stuff like that. They really didn’t talk about [where I fit], but I want to play outside. That’s more of my game.”
With visits already logged this spring to Indiana, Illinois, Iowa State, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois, Smalling has his eyes set on taking three more trips, though he isn’t sure which schools will get them.
One message from Iowa State coach Matt Campbell during his most recent stop was to enjoy the process ahead of him.
“He just said I just don’t want to mess up this opportunity that I have in the recruiting process and make the right decision. He just wants me to be successful,” Smalling said of the message from Campbell. “He’s going to be with me every step of the way. From when we talked, he’s a really good person. I like him.”
For now, the highly-regarded receiver has no set timeline.
“I want to take at least three more visits. I don’t really know [after the visits], I haven’t really gotten that far. I just want to feel out every school and see if I really like them or not,” Smalling said. “I don’t have a particular time. I don’t want to rush it.”