Devin Smith (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) needed a break from football.
The pain of defeat lingered for a long time, following Washington High's 31-17 state semifinal loss to national powerhouse Glenville.
"Where I came from, I'd never been in a playoff game," the 6-foot-1, 180-pound standout receiver said. Prior to his junior year, Smith transferred from Ellet High in nearby Akron. "Playing in the playoffs was special for me. It was just tough to watch the game after a loss like that."
Smith took a break from watching college football, not that he'd been watching much beforehand. He was too entrenched in his own season, an outstanding year that ended with over 50 receptions for 989 yards and 15 touchdowns.
One thing Smith couldn't miss, was all the highlights he was seeing of Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen and his receivers Golden Tate and Michael Floyd on various telecasts. So when the Irish staff recently stepped up with a scholarship offer, it blew Smith away.
"Getting that offer, I really couldn't believe it," Smith stated, adding the Irish are his early leader. He also holds full rides from Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Bowling Green, Toledo, Miami (Ohio) and Ball State.
"I was shocked. I like the style they play. They have a lot of athletes out there, and they have a pretty good set of receivers and a nice quarterback. I'm digging the way they play."
Smith heard about the offer from his coach, and looks forward to speaking with the Notre Dame coaching staff in the near future. He expects Irish head coach Brian Kelly to have a prolific offense in South Bend.
"I saw what he did at Cincinnati."
Smith plans to take his time before making a college decision. He's taken visits to Indiana and Cincinnati. He's hoping to make it up to Notre Dame's junior day on March 20th. He'd also like to see both Michigan schools in the near future.
Even though he new the football was going to be better, moving and leaving Ellet High and his hometown of Akron behind, was tough for Smith.
"I'm always going to love that place, but right now I'm in Massillon and I'm really enjoying it. There were a couple athletes at Akron Ellet, but to compare it to Massillon Washington, there is no comparison."
Smith reports a 3.2 GPA and wants to major in sports psychology.
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Florida State (www.noleinsider.com)
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Oregon (www.duckterritory.com )