What a crazy road this recruitment has been. Despite publicly eliminating Washington from consideration back in May, 5 star linebacker/defensive end Sav’ell Smalls gave a verbal commitment to continue playing his college ball in Seattle today during a ceremony to receive his Under Armour All-American jersey.
Burien (Wash.) Kennedy Catholic five-star OLB Sav’ell Smalls has just announced his commitment to Washington at a ceremony at his school pic.twitter.com/POOs36t0YJ— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) September 27, 2019
The consensus 5-star from Kennedy Catholic is the #9 overall player in the class of 2020 in the 247 Sports Composite rankings and the #1 both OLB and player in the state of Washington. He played his freshman season at Kennedy before transferring to Garfield each of the last 2 years and then transferred back to Kennedy for his senior season playing alongside fellow Husky commit QB Sam Huard. He’s currently listed at 6’3 and 220 lbs. With the addition of Smalls Washington moves up to #12 overall in 247’s team rankings and tops in the conference.
Washington beat out a final 6 that included Alabama, Tennessee, Florida State, Oregon, and Washington State. When Smalls put out his top-12 back on May 1st he left off Washington and cited a need to go elsewhere to grow. Every indication is that there were people close to him feeding some, what shall we call it, misinformation about the program and that gradually the coaching staff was able to rebuild the relationship. It certainly didn’t hurt that Smalls is now playing with perhaps the ultimate UW recruiting tool in Sam Huard.
This is the breakthrough moment the coaching staff has been waiting for on the recruiting front. The Ale Kaho incident (sorry everyone) has taught us that it isn’t over until it’s over but this is the first time this coaching staff has brought in a consensus 5-star guy. With a 2021 class that includes a pair of local top-10 nationally players in addition to Sam Huard, this commitment is a sign that it’s ok to stay home rather than bolt to the SEC/Clemson. Consider the fence around Washington well and officially built.
The Huskies aren’t losing anyone at the OLB position after this season with Ryan Bowman, Joe Tryon, Ariel Ngata, and Laiatu Latu all still projected to be on board. Nonetheless, Smalls is the kind of talent that will threaten for immediate playing time if not a starting spot from day one. He has the kind of speed and athleticism as a pass rusher that you find in few places outside of Tuscaloosa.