BRADENTON, Fla. -- It was easy to see why four-star tight end DeSean Smith (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) is the No. 4 rated tight end in the country at the IMG Madden 7-on-7 National Championships on Saturday. Smith opened the day with a long 30-yard touchdown catch in the first game and never looked back. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound athlete finished with several big plays.
To no one's surprise, the home-state LSU Tigers have always been considered a favorite for the talented tight end, but another team is making a strong push for his services -- the Florida Gators.
"They are recruiting me hard," Smith said. "They are one of the top teams on my list. As of now I'd say LSU and Florida are at the top for me. Coach [Derek] Lewis is doing a great job recruiting me. They respect me and I respect them. As of now it's close. Florida is in it real big. It's going to be a hard decision."
The No. 143 player in the ESPN 150 said he was surprised with what LSU showed him when he visited Baton Rouge for their spring game.
"I loved the way they surprised me at the spring game," Smith said. "They threw the ball excellent, and that's what surprised me the most when I was there."
Smith, who will make his decision at the U.S. Army Bowl in January, said leaving home would be difficult, but that he looks as college as a life-long opportunity.
"It's going to be hard, but at the same time I want to look at other options than just staying at home," he said. "I want to major in criminal justice, which you can really find anywhere, but this will be a decision with me that will stay with me for the next 40 years.
"It's going to come down with how they do this year, how are they producing on the field. It's going to come down to the offense and what quarterbacks they got coming in."
Miami back in the mix for Sherit
Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough defensive end Jordan Sherit admitted that Miami had fallen behind in his recruitment, but after a late push by the Hurricanes, the Canes right back in the picture.
"I made one comment that I haven't heard from them in a while," Sherit said. "The next thing I know I get messaged from everyone on coaching staff for a couple weeks now. Especially with the addition of Travis Johnson, a great friend of mine that is going there. It makes me think about them again. I'll try to get down there in August."
Sherit, who said Florida and Vanderbilt are recruiting him the hardest, is close to narrowing down his list of top schools, but he already knows several teams that will be on it.
"I think I'll have a top 10 in the next couple of days," he said. "I can't think of all of them off the top of my head but some schools I would put in there are Florida, Miami, Stanford, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt. I definitely want to take a trip out to Stanford when they play Notre Dame."
The four-star athlete has visited Florida three times since the spring began. Sherit said Florida is the most organized school he has been to.
"Coach [Will] Muschamp and their whole staff, as far as being organized and knowing what they are doing, they are ahead of everybody else," he said. "Just the way they run their junior days. You can tell by their committed class, they are one of the top classes in the nation. It's because they are doing the right things coaching, and they just have a helluva staff. I expect big things from Florida whether I'm there or not."
2014 WR Artavis Scott earns big offer
Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake wide receiver Artavis Scott will be a big-time recruit next year, but the talented junior-to-be, will have to wait his turn to be the star of his 7-on-7 team. Team Tampa features several top 2013 prospects including Sherit, Leon McQuay III, Vernon Hargreaves III, Richard Benjamin, Travis Johnson and Alvin Bailey. Scott said he enjoys the competition.
"I love it," Scott said. "You don't have to come out here and worry about someone else not doing their job. We have it, they are always doing their job. Guys come out here to compete and we have the best on our team."
Scott, who already held offers from FSU, USF, Ohio State, South Carolina, Iowa State, Indiana and Cincinnati, earned an offer from Florida after recently camping in Gainesville.
"I was thankful for it," Scott said. "I was pretty glad that I got that offer. It's close to home and my mom likes that school. So it was pretty good to get that offer."
The 5-11, 165-pound receiver said he hit it off with Florida wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill.
"I think he's a pretty cool coach," Scott said. "After we came back from the field, we sat down in his office and talked for a while. He seems like a pretty nice guy. I communicate with him every now and then. He seems like a pretty cool dude."
Florida commit taking other visits?
Four-star Florida offensive line commit Josh Outlaw (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) has been committed to the Gators since April, but the guard prospect said he is still receiving interest from other schools.
"I definitely received a lot of attention over the last week," Outlaw said. "I've talked to Miami, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Things have slowed down a little bit, but there are some schools still coming after me. They are still interested."
Outlaw, who said he is still a solid commit to Florida, said he will likely take some other visits.
"Those schools want me to come and check them out," Outlaw said. "I definitely will probably take some because of my teammates. I don't want to be too shy and not take any visits and just sit at my house, so I'll probably be pretty active and check out some things."
Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton), a five-star cornerback, might have had the play of the day. He was beaten by a few steps on a deep route but recovered and made an acrobatic interception just before stepping out of the back of the end zone.
Florida 2014 commit Ryeshene Bronson (Ft. Myers, Fla./Dunbar) caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the first game of the day. The 6-3 wide receiver caught the ball over another defender and barely tapped his feet in the back of the end zone for the score.