AMITE CITY, La. — Flooding across the state of Louisiana forced DeVonta Smith to postpone his commitment announcement last Monday. The natural disaster did provide some clarity on his situation, though.
The 4-star wide receiver from Amite (La.) High School still had not made his mind up before deciding to nix his announcement last week. In his words, he planned on making “a gut call” when he sat down at a table with caps representing LSU, Alabama and Miami.
In order to gain clarity on his future plans, Smith has etched a new announcement date that will ensure he has as much information about every school in order to make an informed decision. He’ll do so on Feb. 1, 2017, National Signing Day.
“I’m going to have to wait until February,” Smith told SEC Country. “To be honest, I don’t know (what will separate LSU, Alabama and Miami). I knew I was going to get up to the table (last week) and pick right then, and I wasn’t able to do that.”
Alabama has long been considered the front runner for the standout 6-foot-1, 165-pound Louisiana native, but late visits to both Coral Gables, Fla., and Baton Rouge, La., created some uncertainty.
As the fall approaches, the two SEC West powers and Miami remain in a three-way tie for Smith’s top spot.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Smith explained. “The main reason I pushed it back was due to all the flooding and the tragedy that’s happening. Right now, I’m not worried about the recruitment. The season is coming and I have all the way to February. I have a lot of time, so I don’t have to rush anything.
“Everything is still the same. Everyone is still even, and no one is head of no one.”
Smith made calls to the Alabama, Miami and LSU coaching staffs to inform them he was delaying his decision, and each camp responded the same way. All were understanding and applauded the 17-year-old for making the move in consideration of the flooding taking place around him.
“They all understood,” he said. “They told me it was a good move and that they understood, and they’ll wait it out. They told me it was a class act and it showed that I was maturing.”
— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) August 20, 2016
Smith, ranked the No. 10 wide receiver in the Class of 2017, now has five months to balance his senior season and what should be a very busy fall. He plans on taking all five of his official visits during the season.
Southern California, Notre Dame, Miami and Nebraska are each confirmed visits for the 4-star prospect. He remains undecided on the fifth, but has ruled out both LSU and Alabama.
“I’m not going to take an official visit to a place I know I can get to,” Smith explained.
Smith has been to LSU plenty since the spring, including the spring game, practices, the June prospect camp and, most recently, the team barbecue. He’s also been a regular presence in Alabama and is coming off his first visit to Miami, where he reunited with former Georgia coach Mark Richt. Smith had once been committed to Richt’s Bulldogs before backing off that pledge in January.
While the U.S. All-American Bowl commit has a major decision ahead of him, he plans on slowing down his recruitment leading up to his February announcement. He’ll give it thought, of course, but on his own time.
“Those teams really want me and they’re not going to rush me to do anything,” Smith said. “I’ll take my visits during the season, but I won’t be talking to coaches all through the night like I was last year. The coaches can text me, but it’s up to me if I want to talk to not. If I don’t want to talk because I have to get rest for the next day, then that’s on me. It’s my cellular device and I can do what I want with it.”
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU 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 Tiger Stadium.