Smiley, shot after leaving club, chooses Oregon St.

Updated: February 8, 2007, 5:04 PM ET
Associated Press

If Earvin "Una" Smiley is able to play college football, it apparently will be at Oregon State.

Smiley, a 6-foot-6, 280-pound offensive lineman from Honolulu who was shot while on a recruiting visit to the University of New Mexico late last year, signed a national letter of intent with the Pac-10 school Wednesday.

Smiley played at Palomar College in southern California last year. He was shot in the right leg while leaving an Albuquerque strip club on Dec. 9 with three New Mexico players and sustained severe nerve damage.

Smiley is awaiting surgery and doesn't know yet if he'll be able to ever walk normally or play football game.

The Albuquerque Tribune reported Thursday that Smiley was told by Oregon State coaches he could take a redshirt year to undergo rehabilitation.

"At first, the Oregon State coaches were just going to wait and see how I recovered after the surgery, but they changed their mind when it was taking so long for me to have the surgery," Smiley told the newspaper. "There is still a chance I may not be able to play, so they are taking a bit of a risk."

Smiley suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the legs. Police said the shooting followed an exchange between Smiley and two men and two women at the club.

Police made an arrest in the case and charged 26-year-old Erminio Gonzalez with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and shooting at or from a motor vehicle.

New Mexico coach Rocky Long said Wednesday he did not think the shooting incident involving Smiley had any impact on the Lobos' recruiting efforts.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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