Rivals250 offensive tackle Donovan Smith is narrowing things further down. The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder hasn't officially cut his list, but is primarily focused on approximately five schools now.
"Penn State is the favorite," he said. "It's a various amount of things, between them having the best graduation rate, I'm not going to school just for football, I'm going for academics; and then I'm very impressed with how they are playing true freshmen. That's a big part of it too. Also, the coaching staff, Coach Kenney is a great guy to be around and Coach Johnson does a great job recruiting me. He's definitely developed a relationship and I really feel like I'm at home there."
How far in front is Penn State?
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"They are my favorite right now, they are up there."
Smith maintains UCLA, Illinois and Syracuse are still in the mix despite not visiting them, as he wants to see what they have to offer.
"I was playing to go to Illinois this weekend for Ohio State, but I couldn't get a flight there early enough to catch the game. I'm planning to reschedule," he said. "I'm shooting for Syracuse later in October sometime and then UCLA sometime in December I believe."
Smith took his first official to Michigan State a week ago. So, where does the fifth official fit in?
"That's up in the air."
Meanwhile, the other schools getting a serious look from Smith are Michigan State, Maryland, Connecticut and Virginia.
"Michigan State, I'm 60/40 on whether I want to play defense or offense in college. They offered me completely for defense and that means a lot to me," he stated. "Maryland is the home school and I'm definitely considering the home school since my family can come watch me play. With Connecticut, Coach Moorhead and Edsall have a good program up there and it seems like a nice fit for me. Academic wise, it works for the players there. Finally, Virginia, it's the same thing, I like coach Poindexter. He does a great job and Mike London is turning that program around."
While Smith was reluctant to claim the other schools on his list are completely out, he clarified that further.
"I'm still looking at them, but I'm more focused and concentrating on these six or seven."
This season, Smith helped Owings Mills to their first victory of the season on Friday 32-12.
"It's a big turnaround for us going from 0-3 to 1-3," he said. "I'm playing well on both sides of the ball. Defense comes naturally for me and I'm always wreaking havoc, putting pressure on the quarterback. On the offensive side, our running back ran behind me last game for three touchdowns."