BEAVERTON, Ore. — Devonta Smith has made sure he’s gotten to spend quality time with Alabama quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa off the field, and from the sound of it, the pair have gotten close.
Smith, a 4-star wide receiver from Amite (La.) High School, told SEC Country at The Opening that Tagovailoa is one of the most special kids he’s talked to throughout the recruiting process. Why is that important? Smith, who is down to Alabama, Miami, Nebraska and Mississippi State, will make his commitment on Aug. 15. The more time Smith and Tagovailoa spend with each other, the better Alabama’s chances are of landing the receiver.
“He’s a very inspirational person. He’s very uplifting,” Smith said. “I have never heard him be negative. Everything with him is just positive. One day, we were just sitting down and talking about God. We just kept on talking about God. It was really good because it let me know that my possible quarterback is someone that won’t talk down on no one and will always pick them up.”
Smith had a chance to line up at receiver with Tagovailoa as quarterback for several reps during the Elite 11 competition. There were plenty of major takeaways Smith had regarding his potential future teammate.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Smith said. “His accuracy is on point and every pass was on time.”
The nation’s No. 10 wide receiver doesn’t say much about his own recruitment, but he was honest when asked why he didn’t include LSU in his list of finalists. While Alabama is considered the overwhelming favorite for Smith, it was somewhat surprising to not see the in-state Tigers make the final cut.
He had previously said he needed to see more out of LSU’s offense. He wanted to see the Tigers’ offense open up in the passing game, but he didn’t see that on multiple visits to Baton Rouge.
But one of the main reasons why LSU doesn’t have a chance with Smith is much deeper than football.
“I just really want to get away from home,” Smith said. “I don’t really like being in Louisiana that much. I want to get away from home so I can explore other things.”
Though Nebraska and Mississippi State are in the mix, both schools should not be considered major competition for Smith when he announces next month. Smith said Cornhuskers wide receivers coach Keith Williams is one of the best coaches at the position, while the Bulldogs have consistently stayed in touch with him.
He has never visited Nebraska and does not plan on doing so before his announcement, though he said the school will receive an official visit from him this fall. He last visited Mississippi State in November. There are no future plans to visit Starkville just yet.
He will visit Miami July 15-16, and that’s the school that has a fighter’s chance with Smith. He was once a Georgia commit and now Mark Richt is the Hurricanes coach.
“With Miami, I have trusted Mark Richt once and I feel like I can trust him again,” Smith said.
The Hurricanes are going to have to blow Smith away on his upcoming trip to shake up his recruitment. If Miami doesn’t do that, expect Alabama to be the choice.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.