2017 five-star Amite (La.) wide receiver Devonta Smith was set to announce his college choice this past Monday, Aug. 15, but when the historic flooding occurred in Louisiana, Smith called it off.
Smith's thought on the decision was simple. This is not a time to be doing this. He admits football is helping take everyone's minds off the tragedy.
"It was a lot of tragedy going on and all on the team. We had family members and people that we know who lost houses and teammates and it all really meant a lot. When we come out to this field house to practice, it really all just leaves."
Many thought a new decision date would come shortly for Smith to announce his choice from Alabama, LSU and Miami (Fla.) Now, that won't happen anytime soon, likely National Signing Day.
"February. I really pushed it back because I'm concerned with everyone in the community," the No. 1 prospect in Louisiana told Tiger Blitz.
The 6-1, 170-pound receiver says he hadn't told any coaches about where he was going to commit and hasn't had much contact with coaches even before the decision to postpone.
"With my decision postponed, I had just decided to leave the coaches alone and just let me think to myself. I hadn't been talking to anyone lately."
Alabama, LSU and Miami remain the main suitors for Smith, but Tennessee remains in the mix as well for Scout's No. 2 wide receiver's signature.
The Tigers have made a big push as of late with receivers coach Dameyune Craig and the Tigers can offer immediate playing time potentially with the Tigers' top two receivers departing after this season. The floods in Louisiana has made Smith reconsider everything with LSU in the picture too.
"It makes me focus less on recruiting because the flooding means more and things happen to my family, family members. Wasn't nobody overreacting, but everyone stayed calm," Smith said. "Louisiana, we've been through a lot and every time something happens, we just keep going and going. It just fuels us. Not just sports, but everything."
Alabama was thought to be the team that Smith would commit to this past Monday, but he cautioned that it's not all about winning and the program.
"It's a good school. Who wouldn't want to go to Alabama? It's not all about winning and tradition though. It's about where you feel comfortable at because you've got to play there your four years," Smith said following a scrimmage on Saturday. "You could be winning, but you might not be playing at all. I'm pretty sure everyone there wants to play. It's not really all about that tradition. It's about the best opportunity for me."
Miami has continued to tell Smith what Mark Richt has been telling him since he became coach at Miami.
"He just tells me I've trusted him once and I should trust him again."
Smith isn't worried about deciding soon and is focused on his senior season. Not to tip his hand anywhere, Smith just talked about comfort being the main factor.
"They're all good schools. It's just going to be a matter of which one I'm most comfortable at."
Smith's freshmen year, the team didn't make it to state, his sophomore year the Warriors didn't finish and his junior year, the team was disqualified from the playoffs following a postgame brawl instigated by Bogalusa. Needless to say, Smith feels this team is ready.
"I'm feeling good. We're going to start off right and we're going to pick it up offensively and defensively. We feel they shouldn't have put us out and that just put a whole lot on all of us. Every team we play, they're going to get it even harder."
In the scrimmage Saturday, Smith was targeted a few times, catching a few touchdown passes as Amite battled nearby Hammond (La.). Smith displayed a solid catch radius for not being a 6-4 receiver. His smooth moves after the catch were on full display as well and showed incredible vision to get the most out of every play.
Scout's analysis of Devonta Smith:
"A smooth wide receiver who plays fast. He gets off the ball quick and really sets up defenders well. He is explosive on the football field. He catches the ball well and knows how to make adjustments on the ball. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he is elusive in the open field. He is on the lean side, so he needs to get stronger, add mass to his frame, and start to fill out, but that will come. He constantly runs away from defenders. He really knows how to stick his foot in the ground and shoot out of his breaks when running routes. Overall, he is a dynamic playmaker. He knows how to make big play after big play."