AMITE, La. — There are a few things you can count on seeing at an Amite High School football practice.
One is 4-star DeVonta Smith bringing a Gatorade bottle and sitting it gently on the bench, offering it up to any defensive back that can slow him down.
The other is Smith calmly grabbing that same Gatorade at the end of the day and finishing it off.
That’s a tactic Smith, Louisiana’s No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017, borrowed from Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin. It’s also symbolic of Smith’s level of play at this stage in his football career, which was also cemented when he received his U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game jersey on Friday afternoon.
“It means a lot to play for the people that fight for our country,” Smith told SEC Country. “It means a lot to be the first from my school, from my area, to do something this big … it’s a dream come true and something I’ve always pictured doing, and now it’s coming true.”
Smith is the first player from Amite (La.) High to compete in the game, a program that has consistently been on the rise thanks to the wide receiver’s heroics and benchmark he’s set in the area.
Behind Smith are 2019 5-star prospects Ishmael Sopsher and Devonta Lee, a defensive tackle and wide receiver that recently landed offers from LSU.
Smith’s hometown is rich with talent — particularly in the recruiting cycles to come — so naturally, receiving the invitation to the Army All-American Bowl has set a standard for his teammates to follow.
“I want to let people know that no matter where you come from, anything can be achieved,” he said. “Have a dream, stick to it and eventually, it will come true.”
Smith’s connection to the Army Bowl runs even deeper.
His aunt served in the U.S. military, which motivated Smith to compete in this All-Star event. The 6-foot-1, 160-pounder knew that he made the right decision as soon as he informed his aunt of his decision.
“It meant a lot to her,” Smith said. “The expression I saw in her face when I told her, you could tell it meant a lot.”
Smith is rated as the No. 9 wide receiver in the recruiting cycle and is down to four schools: Alabama, LSU, Miami and TCU. His decision will come on National Signing Day.
The 4-star recruit will make his first visit to Baton Rouge on Saturday for the Ole Miss game along with his family, teammates and mentor.
Until then, his sights are set on leading his team to the Louisiana state championships, a feat his coach, Zephaniah Powell, has the utmost confidence in.
Then again, Smith is a leader by example.
“He does more in practice than you actually see in games,” Powell said. “He goes even harder so the game slows down. He has an incredible work ethic …
“This summer, DeVonta caught a touchdown pass in every time zone, from heading out West to Oregon to the Paradise Camp in Miami. He’s faced the best, so when the pads come on he doesn’t shy away from competition. He’s going to be excited to see at the U.S. Army Bowl and I’m excited to see it when the pads come on.”
Watch Louisiana’s top prospect, Devonta Smith, receive his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey
Posted by LSU Insiders on Friday, October 21, 2016
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