- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
David Smith (Midlothian, Ill./Bremen) was planning to make an announcement on Monday, but the three-star running back instead spent the day mulling which team will get his fifth and final official visit.
“It’s Arizona, Georgia Tech, Illinois, UCLA, and that’s kind of it right now,” Smith said of the four teams competing for his final official visit, which will come in January.
Smith, who likely will decide in the next few weeks which team he will visit, said UCLA is the frontrunner to receive that visit and is hoping to speak with new coach Jim L. Mora in the near future, possibly as early as Monday night.
“Actually, I contacted UCLA on my own. I’ve been a fan of them and all that,” Smith said. “With the brand new coaching staff, I just contacted them myself.”
Smith is also hoping to speak with new Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez sometime this week.
Georgia Tech has been in the mix for Smith for a while, and Smith likes that playing running back in Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense would make for an easy transition.
“They run the same offense as my high school team,” he said. “I would fit in there well. That’s the main thing.”
Although Smith listed Illinois, he doesn’t foresee himself visiting the Illini or even considering them when it comes down to it. New coach Tim Beckman was recruiting him while at Toledo, but Smith wasn’t interested in the Rockets.
Illinois didn’t receive much attention from Smith when Ron Zook was still coach either, because of the uncertainty surrounding Zook’s job status. Smith has visited Illinois as many as five times, but he never seriously considered the hometown Illini despite really enjoying his visits there.
“It’s probably not somewhere I’ll end up at,” Smith said. “I still love Illinois, though.”
Smith has already officially visited Boston College, Cincinnati, Purdue and West Virginia and said those four all are firmly among his leaderboard and are “pretty even, I’d say.” A decision will now come closer to signing day.
“When I choose a school, I’m trying to be all in,” Smith said. “I’m kind of making the most educated choice I can. I’m taking it each day at a time and trying to figure things out.”
514dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert