Smalls Names a Leader

LionNews spoke to Huguenot HS head coach Richard McFee and defensive back Sean Smalls last week during a 7-on-7 Tournament in Alabama to see how Sean's recruitment has progressed. How did Smalls fare against the competition? Does he have a leader? When will he have a decision?

Name: Sean Smalls
Position: CB
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 185 pounds
40 Speed: 4.45 seconds
Hometown/School: Richmond, Va. (Huguenot HS)

It seems that just about every year, Coach Richard McFee's Huguenot HS (Richmond, Va.) team has at least one player with major college talent.  This season he has two, Penn State commitment Kevin Cousins and uncommitted defensive back Sean Smalls.  Coach McFee recently took his squad to the Southeastern Select 7-on-7 Tournament at Hoover HS in Hoover, Al., in an effort to get his players ready for the upcoming season and more exposure to potential college suitors.

When LionNews caught up to McFee, he and his team where just arriving back at their hotel in Birmingham for the night.  During the tournament, Huguenot had the opportunity to challenge other big time high schools like Evangel Christian HS from Shreveport, La.; Monsignor Pace HS in Miami; Scottland County HS in Laurinburg, Nc.; and Thomas Jefferson HS from Pittsburgh.  Before his squad went to Alabama, many of his players attended summer camp at Penn State in June.  With such a busy travel schedule, will Coach McFee be rested enough when football practice starts next month?

"Oh yes I will," laughed McFee.  "We do this every year.  I take my kids so they can be seen.  You can't get great offers if people don't see you."

Although his one scholarship athlete, Penn State verbal Kevin Cousins did not attend the tournament, defensive back Sean Smalls exhibited the ability that has garnered him claimed offers from UCLA, Arizona State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Maryland, North Carolina, and Florida State, while having Nebraska craving to see more film.  During the games, Sean had three interceptions against some top flight competition.

Last month it was rumored that Penn State may be nearing on a commitment from Sean, which could have happened after a phone call to Nittany Lion head coach Joe Paterno.  Did that call ever take place?

"No he didn't because what happened was Joe went out of town and they didn't get an opportunity to speak.  So he's going to talk with Coach when we get back from this trip," explained Coach McFee, who added that Sean received Penn State's written offer in the mail.

Does Penn State still lead for Sean like his teammate Kevin, who everyone has backed off since he committed to the Nittany Lions?

"I think his interest [in them] is very much.  I think once he sits and talks to Coach Paterno that he may try to end up going there but right now, he's leaning more so elsewhere."

"We've had three kids from my school play there since I've been the head coach, including my son (Marcus).  Then with Kevin committing there, all that funk plays a part in it too, probably," said Coach McFee, continuing,  "I'll be honest with you.  I think if didn't have to go out of town the last time, he probably would have committed to him when they talked."

Sean had to call Joe Paterno because NCAA regulations that coaches cannot call prospective recruits until August.

Coach McFee admitted that he believed Sean may be leaning to a school other than Penn State.  Which schools leads for the 6'1'', 190 pound corner back?

"It's probably between Ohio State, Penn State, and Maryland," said Sean, who also likes UCLA.  "They're up in the bunch, probably fourth."

Has a favorite emerged from the bunch?

"Probably Ohio State," confessed Smalls, who says he like the Buckeyes program and the schemes they run -- a trait they share with Penn State.  Sean attended a one day camp at Ohio State, the day before he arrived at Penn State camp.

Along with Penn State and Ohio State, Sean also attended a junior day at Maryland in the beginning of June.

While the Nittany Lions do not sit in the catbird seat with Smalls, it seems like they could overtake the Buckeyes lead.  Do Kevin and Sean ever talk about attending the same college?

"Yeah we talked about it," acknowledged Sean, who will not take anymore unofficial visits.

A corner back or free safety on the next level, Sean is being recruited by Penn State assistant coaches Brian Norwood, Tom Bradley, and Bill Kenney.

Smalls hopes to still be able to call Joe Paterno sometime before the month is over.  Is it the same time frame in which he expects to have his decision made.

"Probably before the season starts," said Sean, whose first game on the calender kicks off on September 10th.

Penn State and Ohio State fans should know soon which one will be getting this talented athlete to help bolster their secondary.

(Interview by Steve Curry)

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