Smelley could be nation's top QB

Many feel that it is going to be hard for LSU to sign a top-flight quarterback since the Tigers signed the No. 1 signal caller in the country in 2005 in Ryan Perrilloux. There are several guys Jimbo Fisher would like to bring in to compete with Perrilloux down the road and one that just picked up an LSU offer is Northport, Ala. native Chris Smelley.

Smelley, a 6-2, 203-pounder from American Christian Academy, will battle Neil Caudle for the top quarterback honors in Alabama for the Class of 2006.

As a junior, Smelley was an All-State performer and a finalist for player of the year honors after he completed more than 60 percent of his passes for 3,400 yards and 38 scores.

Surprisingly, the blue-chip quarterback had yet to pick up his first offer despite drawing heavy interest from LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Clemson.

All of that changed, though, a week ago when the Tigers came calling.

"Coach Fisher called not too long ago to talk to my coach and he asked for me to call him back," said Smelley. "I called him back and he asked who all had offered and I said no one for football. He said you could put us down for your first one because we have a scholarship waiting on you."

Smelley is familiar with the LSU program from when he took an unofficial visit last season when the Alabama Crimson Tide ventured into Death Valley.

Being from the heart of SEC country, Smelley knew about the tradition at LSU but now he sees what all of the talk is about.

"When we went to that game last season the atmosphere was awesome," he said. "The atmosphere and tradition was just so cool. It's a great environment and I think it is a great school."

That trip to the bayou last season was Smelley's first opportunity to meet Jimbo Fisher and see his offense in action and since then the two have stayed in touch.

"He is a great guy," said Smelley, who is a full academic qualifier. "His offense mixes it up a lot and I think it would be a fun offense to play in. The quarterback has to make a lot of calls and he gets a chance to make plays."

Playing time is something that the standout passer is looking for. Not necessarily right off the bat but he wants to have an opportunity to play once he learns the system.

Having to battle the No. 1 quarterback in the country for playing time may have a little effect on Smelley's decision but he knows he understands he will have competition at any of the premier programs in the country.

"It could have a little effect because I wouldn't want to go somewhere I may never play at," he said. "With all of the schools I'm looking at I want to see how many guys they have at the position. That is something I'm looking at but a lot of the schools are going to have that kind of competition."

As for naming a leader at this point Smelley said there is no clear-cut favorite but one stands out a little more than the others. "I don't really have a top school but LSU has offered and that makes them stand out more," he said.

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