Take Two: Will Sav'ell Smalls stay out West or go away from home?
Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.
Sav’ell Smalls is wanted by every program in the country. He’s a 6-foot-5, 240-pound five-star player who is physical and tough enough to dominate at defensive end and athletic enough to play in space at linebacker. He’s special.
The Burien (Wash.) Kennedy Catholic standout might go down as the best recruit ever from the state of Washington. As far as where he plays his college ball, it remains anyone’s guess.
Smalls has been to Washington numerous times and is beloved there. He returns to Oregon this weekend and the Ducks have made him a top priority. But the five-star defensive end has also shown a tremendous amount of interest in SEC and ACC powerhouses, with Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Georgia and others involved.
The Gators have definitely made a big-time impression, and Smalls is planning another round of visits to the Southeast before he seriously starts to work down his list. In February, Smalls released a top list of Florida, Ohio State, Texas, Clemson, Miami, Washington State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida State, Texas A&M, Washington and Alabama.
Can the Pac-12 schools keep him in the conference? Or is Smalls destined to play for a national powerhouse far away from home?
FIRST TAKE: COREY BENDER, GATORSTERRITORY.COM
“Smalls' most recent trip to The Swamp roughly two weeks back marked his second UF visit overall, and neither was an official visit. Speaking with him shortly after his visit, Smalls said Florida was the only school he knew would 'definitely' receive an official visit at some point. The five-star prospect has said Dan Mullen is one of his favorite coaches, but is also very impressed by the culture change and how everyone bought in over such a short period of time.
“I think the Gators are a true player here and check off several boxes, but the next step is to hammer down an official visit date. That is key. Usually I would say the best bet for Florida is to host Smalls for an official visit during the season or sometime leading up to signing day, but everything seemed to work out just fine when Chris Steele officially visited during the first half of last year.
“There is obviously a whole lot of familiarity at Washington, which also holds all the cards in terms of proximity, but several out-of-region schools are also on his short list, with Florida near the top of that group. The Gators are arguably in the best spot they can be in without using an official visit. Welcoming Smalls to campus for an official visit and knocking it out of the park when doing so is the key factor, especially since the previous visit was somewhat limited on time.”
SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, RIVALS.COM
“I think he goes away from home. There is going to be a lot of pressure to stay home and he’s a huge name, but I think he wants to go off to the Southeast and try to win a national championship. The way the Pac-12 has played out the last few years has affected its recruiting and it’s made it a lot tougher to keep Smalls home. I see him in either the SEC or the ACC.”