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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Smythe talks Stanford, visit plans

By Sam Khan Jr.

HOUSTON -- The decision to decommit from Texas wasn't an easy one for Belton (Texas) High School tight end Durham Smythe. But for him, it was the right decision.

Now, as the weeks pass and national signing day approaches, Smythe is weighing all the options in front of him. He has plenty, but he's still in the process of trying to decide where he'll take his remaining official visits. After checking in for the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl -- set for Sunday at Reliant Stadium -- on Wednesday, he discussed all that has been going on since he made his decision.

"The week that I decommitted it was pretty crazy because the dead period was about to start at that point, so toward the end of that week, a lot of coaches and a lot of schools tried to get in contact with me to schedule home visits and stuff like that," Smythe said. "Over the dead period I've been in contact with coaches once a week on Facebook and stuff like that. It's been busy and right now I'm just in a period where I'm evaluating things and I'm trying to pick a couple favorites so I can take official visits there and have a base to compare."

Stanford is one school that will receive an official visit from Smythe. He'll visit Palo Alto, Calif., on Jan. 11. and is interested to take a deeper look at the Cardinal.

"They've always been toward the top of my list throughout this process," Smythe said. "It's a fantastic school with a good academic environment and obviously paired with a great athletic program -- that's an important thing to have, that combination. I like their scheme, what they do with the tight end, I'm really comfortable with the coaching staff. Those are a lot of the things I'm looking for in any school, just somewhere I can really be comfortable."

Texas, Oklahoma, Florida and Stanford have made in-home visits with Smythe. Oregon has discussed the possibility of one with him, but hasn't set up a date for one. As for the other schools that could receive an official visit from Smythe, he listed the schools that he has been in touch with frequently.

"The schools that I've been in the most contact with are Oregon, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame a little bit, Florida, Oklahoma," he said. "It'll probably be within those."

Ultimately, Smythe is just looking for the right fit.

"All these places are great and there's really nowhere that you can go wrong," he said. "But it's really important that you find a place that you'll be comfortable with for four years academically and athletically. It's not something that you need to rush, but obviously there's only a month left until signing day, so I do have to make that decision relatively quickly. But really it's just somewhere where you can see yourself for four years being really happy."

As for his decommitment from Texas, he has heard rumors about his motivation to make the decision. He set the record straight, saying that it just didn't feel like the right fit.

"It was extremely tough," Smythe said of the decision. "I've said this a lot because I have so much respect for Texas and there's really nothing wrong with Texas. If someone came up to me and asked, I would recommend Texas. It's a great school, the coaches are great there, it's a great program.

"But for the last couple months, it just really hadn't felt right with me, hadn't sat right, and at the end of the day, I just felt there were better fits out there for me. With Coach [Bryan] Harsin leaving, he was one of the guys that recruited me a little bit, and that played a small factor. A lot of people said that's the main reason, but it really isn't. It was a really a personal fit reason, but that did play a small factor."

Smythe said he's looking forward to the next few days worth of practices at the Offense-Defense Bowl.

"It's an opportunity to be around a lot of great talents and practice and play with them for a full week," he said. "It'll help me improve and I really look forward to that because in high school football, on a regular basis, within your own team you don't get this level of competition so I'm really excited about that."