It's been a long road to National Signing Day for Amite (La.) five-star wide receiver Devonta Smith, but February 1 is upon him. After taking official visits to LSU, Alabama and Florida State, the South's No. 1 wide receiver has an official visit to Miami (Fla.) left and will visit Coral Gables this weekend before announcing his decision next Wednesday.
The No. 26 overall player in the country went in-depth with Scout to talk official visits and his upcoming decision. Plus, the 6-1, 170-pound receiver's final in-home visits are set.
"Just for my family."
With balancing basketball season and official visits, Smith said it all takes its toll on him, but the main reason why he takes the official visits are for his family.
This past weekend at Alabama, Smith said he slept in his hotel room for most of the weekend, having arrived in Tuscaloosa late Friday night after a basketball game. Smith's time spent at Alabama was similar to his two other official visits, he told Scout on Monday night.
“It was good. Really didn’t do nothing. That was just for my family,” Smith said of his Alabama visit. “My family did everything they had planned for them. I didn’t really do anything. That was just for them to see what they wanted to see. I think it went well. It was my grandfather's first time there.”
As far as when Smith met with Alabama coach Nick Saban and receivers coach Billy Napier, there wasn't much pressure. Just talking a little ball.
“We just talked football. That’s all. Everything I had already seen already,” Smith said.
FSU was a surprise visit for most as head coach Jimbo Fisher and company only just asked Smith and his family to visit. Smith obliged and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Smith was in Tallahassee for an official visit.
“I’ve been up there a couple times. That was for my mother for her to see it. They hit me up and wanted me to come,” Smith said. “They said they need playmakers. She thought it was good.”
Florida State was back with Fisher and assistant coaches Randy Sanders and Lawrence Dawsey on Monday, spending the whole day at Amite High School in Louisiana before watching Smith's basketball practice. The Seminoles have jumped into what was a three-team race with Alabama, LSU and Miami.
Right before his trip to FSU, Smith and his family LSU made the short trip to Baton Rouge. While Smith didn't do much except hang in the hotel room, not even talking to host D.J. Chark, just like on his other visits, Smith's family got the royal treatment and was impressed.
“Just for my family. All these visits are for my family since I’ve seen everything,” Smith said. “They like how the coaching staff is going things. They just wanted to get to know my family more.”
While on campus, Smith did get pitched by offensive coordinator Matt Canada and receivers coach Dameyune Craig, who has been instrumental in getting LSU back in the race for Smith.
“Just telling me how the offense is opening up more. I did some film with coach Craig,” Smith said. “We watched some of the drills they do. He’s a great man and a great teacher. Our relationship has grown tremendously.” http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1743031-army-bowl...
Ed Orgeron made his pitch to Smith and his family too. Smith has been impressed with how the Louisiana native has energized the players.
“He said if I choose to go to LSU, he let me know how many people I’d make happy in this town,” Smith said. “Just how he’s turned things around. The players seem to have more fun around the program now.”
As far as his final visit to Miami, Smith said the same thing. It's just for his family even if Mark Richt once held a verbal commitment from Smith.
“It’s just for my family. I’ve been down there twice. It’s just for them,” Smith said. “They’re trying to see what type of men the coaches are and how the program is.”
Where do things stand heading into National Signing Day? When asked about each school, Smith just said it's all even.
“To be honest, all the schools are the same. Great coaching staffs, great men, great programs,” Smith said. “I really don’t know what separated from everyone else.”
Final In-Home Visits Set for Smith
With the final week of his recruitment underway, who's expected in to see Smith? Here's the rundown:
Monday: Fisher wrapped up his final visit with Smith.
Tuesday: Richt and four Miami assistants are expected in to visit Smith in Amite.
Wednesday: Orgeron, Canada and Craig are expected in-home to represent the Tigers.
Thursday: Saban, Napier and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian are expected to visit for the Crimson Tide.
Sunday: Plenty of assistants will want one more chance to talk with Smith, but one source hinted that by that point, Smith might just want to think things over as he'll arrive back from Miami that night. It's also a quiet period so the only school that Smith can theoretically stop at is LSU. Unlikely, but there's a slim possibility it could happen.
National Signing Day (Morning) Decision
So when does the No. 1 receiver in the South expect a decision?
“It’ll be early in the morning on Signing Day. Me, my mother and father will talk about it Tuesday night that will talk about it,” Smith said. “My decision will be based upon me and where I want to go. They’re good with any of these.”
It's been a long road, but it's finally here. Smith doesn't take it lightly, but even as he says he's undecided, he says it's been a blessing.
“I’m ready for it to be out of the way. It’s real tough because it’s great programs to choose from. It’s a blessing, but it’s very tough,” Smith said. “I don’t know where I’m going yet.”
Smith plans on having a ceremony at Amite High on February 1 to announce his decision and sign his letter of intent.
SCOUT EVALUATION OF 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." -Chad Simmons