A decision too big to keep secret

Barbe star Desean Smith, the No. 8-ranked tight end in the country, makes his pledge to LSU and brings the Tigers 2013 commitment total to 18.

Desean Smith had every intention of waiting things out and making the kind of dramatic announcements that have become the norm in football recruiting.

His target date was the U.S. Army Bowl, an event where the Barbe product figures to make his final splash as one of the best tight ends in the country.

But the secret was just too big for Smith to hold onto that long.

So he made things official Monday and called LSU coach Les Miles and told him he intends to sign with the Tigers come National Signing Day.

"I could tell he was pretty excited," Smith said. "I think it made his day and I know it was a great day for me."

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Smith is the 18th LSU commitment from the Class of 2013 and the second from Lake Charles in the last few days, joining his good friend Melvin Jones from Washington-Marion.

"I'd made my decision and I was just ready to announce it," said Smith, rated as the No. 8 tight end in the country and the No. 1 target on LSU's wish list at that position. "I've spent a year looking at everything and seen what I wanted to see at LSU. My gut feeling for a while has been LSU and I was going to wait, but I couldn't anymore."

Smith has been a popular target by many schools since emerging as a national-level recruit and is currently holding 12 scholarship offers. He spent time at camp this summer with both LSU and Texas A&M.

It was a visit to the Tigers' spring game that may have sealed the deal, though.

With newly installed starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger running the first-team offense, LSU opened up the offense. Mettenberger threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns and had the Tigers in position for a third scoring strike before he was picked off in the end zone.

"The way I saw that offense perform in the spring game – the way they the ball really excited me," Smith said. "Seeing that kind of offense and thinking what I could do in that system excited me a ton. I can't wait to get there."

At his size, Smith is more of a pass-catching tight end than a blocker. He could wind up filling a role similar to DeAngelo Peterson as he fills out.

Earlier this spring, Scout.com national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons evaluated Smith and wrote "He is a very fluid runner and has shown great body control when the ball is coming his way."

On Monday, Simmons said "I like the way Desean catches the football and he will be a real receiving threat down the field in the LSU offense. LSU has produced some very good tight ends in recent years Smith will have a chance to be another one as he continues to add weight and strength."

The commitment from Smith comes after he starred at the IMG National Championships in Florida. Louisiana Bootleggers coach Jimmy Smith said Desean Smith played an outside receiver spot and led the team in touchdowns.

Now the next step is the 2012 high school season when Barbe is expected to be one of the top contenders in Class 5A.

"Making this decision now lets me focus on school, which always comes first for me," Smith said. "I can't get there without a good education. This also helps me play for my teammates and see if we can play for a state championship. There won't be anything on my back now. I got what I was looking for and made my decision and I'm ready to go out and play football."

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