The last time 4-star Amite (La.) wide receiver DeVonta Smith spoke with members of the LSU staff was to inform them he was delaying his decision until National Signing Day.
Then, the LSU coaches displayed respect for Smith’s decision, but apparently forgot to remain in touch with the highly regarded 2017 target.
That lack of communication over the past month between the in-state power and the No. 1 prospect in Louisiana is not to say that the interest has wavered. It might be a bit of a head scratcher one month after the Tigers were named one of three finalists, but there’s a sense that LSU’s efforts since the spring went largely unnoticed.
Smith was made aware that he was the No. 1 prospect on LSU’s wish list in 2017 and was made a priority for first-year wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig. The 4-star receiver was on hand for LSU’s recruiting barbecue in July but declined multiple attempts by the coaching staff to visit with his family, a source told SEC Country.
Smith’s mother, grandfather and brother were all invited to campus to visit with the LSU coaches, take in the atmosphere and discuss the receiver’s future. That meeting never transpired.
“If they can’t get his mother on campus, where does that leave them,” a source said of LSU’s chances of landing Smith.
Smith, Louisiana’s top-ranked receiver, has not heard much from LSU since postponing his commitment in August. The LSU coaches lack confidence in their ability to edge out presumptive favorite Alabama for the coveted prospect, which is why the staff has put its focus elsewhere.
A break in communication
On Smith’s side, the 4-star prospect elevated LSU to one of his final three schools along with Alabama and Miami. The lack of communication since has been a mystery.
“He put them (LSU) in his top 3. He has a great relationship with coach Craig and coach (Ed) Orgeron,” a source told SEC Country. “He’s begging them to recruit him, but they don’t do anything.”
As it stands now, this does not signal the end of LSU’s chances of landing the nation’s 10th-ranked receiver.
Smith hasn’t taken the coaching staff’s silence personally. In fact, he’s been very understanding of the situation. However, it remains a question whether this will hurt LSU’s chances down the road when Smith prepares to make his announcement on signing day.
“He takes it as … maybe it’s the season, maybe they’ve got something to do,” a source said. “Things happen and they might be dealing with something that he doesn’t know about it.”
The 6-foot-1, 160-pound wide receiver has since visited Tuscaloosa, Ala., for Alabama’s home opener against Western Kentucky. There are little to no indications Smith will be on hand at any LSU home games and he has already confirmed to SEC Country that he does not plan on making an official visit to LSU this fall.
That, of course, could change as Smith has plans to officially visit Notre Dame, Miami, Southern California and Nebraska. Ohio State is in contention for the fifth-and-final visit, but that remains uncertain at this time.
Smith was considered the top priority for Craig and area recruiter Ed Orgeron dating back to the spring, but he has also received consistent communication from the Alabama staff since de-committing from Georgia last year. Though the 4-star wide receiver has denied that the Crimson Tide are his leading school and insisted that all of the schools recruiting him are on a level playing field.
Sources close to the situation consider Alabama as the school to beat, which was made apparent by the level of support it lent when severe flooding hit Tangipahoa Parish last month.
A skinny here: LSU is at risk of losing the state’s top-ranked prospect to a division rival, but its efforts cannot be ignored. The Tigers’ staff is becoming aware of the situation and may be on the verge of trying to reconcile the situation, if there is room for reparations.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted.
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