AMITE, La. — LSU has been recruiting DeVonta Smith for the length of his recruitment, but with less than two weeks until the star wide receiver signs on the dotted line, the coaching staff is hammering home an all-important message …
For those that have watched Smith play in person or on tape, he’s already different.
Despite a smaller frame, the 4-star receiver is a fluid route runner, soft hands and will not be denied the football. Truth be told, those who have watched him ball suggest he could be a first-round draft pick at wide receiver or cornerback.
LSU has noticed, too.
Together, Tigers offensive coordinator Matt Canada and wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig have taken a slightly different direction with their recruitment of Smith. Offensive roles and opportunities aside, the LSU coaches have asked Smith to “be different” when he makes his decision.
“Come be different,” Smith told SEC Country, about what Craig’s message was during his official visit to LSU last weekend.
“Come be different and come to LSU. Be different. Don’t go places where they talk about throwing the ball. Here, it’s opening up. It’s opening up.”
Smith, the 6-foot-1, 160-pounder, is being courted to be an instant-impact player at LSU.
The Tigers lost senior receiver Travin Dural and junior Malachi Dupre to the NFL Draft. Only D.J. Chark, who hosted Smith over the weekend, is the proven veteran returning on the depth chart.
With that in mind, Canada, who has instilled confidence in Smith that he’s shaking up things on the LSU offense, suggested that if he’s willing, he could be a part of the turnaround.
“It’s a fresh start,” Smith explained. “Everybody else is on the same page as me because nobody really knows the offense. I can come in and I can play a big role, but that’s up to me.
“He wants to move me around the field, and that would be a great opportunity for me to do everything, any position on the field wide receiver-wise … in the slot, outside, it doesn’t matter.”
Canada is bracing for his first year in Baton Rouge, but at wide receiver and, from a big-picture angle, the passing game will certainly be a focal point this spring.
The coaching staff deems Smith a major piece of the puzzle if it can land a signature from the local standout on National Signing Day. Hence, that’s why both Canada and Craig will be in Amite, checking in on the 4-star wide receiver a day after Alabama assistant Billy Napier did the same.
Canada will be along for the ride considering his budding relationship with Smith. Likewise, his presence could further Smith’s view of this LSU offense.
“Just some of the things that he showed me offensively,” Smith began, “you get an idea of some of the things that they’re going to be doing. It (the visit) went really well, getting to know Coach Canada and know the things that they’re going through offense-wise.”
- Smith officially visited Florida State earlier this week, but the ‘Noles are sitting fourth behind LSU, Alabama and Miami, who share the lead for the 4-star wide receiver.
- Smith’s family enjoyed the visit, most notably his mother.
- Smith appreciates that Canada and Craig are on the same page in their pitch to him. Both envision Smith being a focal point in LSU’s passing game.
- Can one team separate from the pack, and how? “That, I don’t really know,” Smith said, laughing.
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