Believe it or not, there are still some college coaches in America that have never heard of Owings Mills rising senior Donovan Smith.
But after the summer that the 6-foot-5, 280 pound left tackle prospect had, the secret is out.
Smith exploded onto the national scene in January when he turned away pass rushers and caught the attention of coaches with his blocking abilities at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl underclassman combine in Texas.
He continued to show what he could do in early July at the prestigious Football University camp in Annapolis. At FBU, which is by invitation only, Smith stood out once again and was named the top lineman.
After that impressive showing in Annapolis, he earned an invitation to the Top Gun camp in Williamsburg, Virginia. There he took on some of the top defensive lineman recruits in the Country and dominated most of them. His biggest test came from the top defensive end prospect in the Class of 2011 Stephen Truitt, who is ranked as high as No. 22 in his class and tops in the state of Georgia by some recruiting services.
Once again, Smith was named the top lineman at Top Gun.
The scholarship offers have been pouring in all year and he recently narrowed his choices to 12 schools.
“It’s down to UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland, Michigan State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech, UNC, Illinois and UCLA,” said Smith.
He added: “I’m still enjoying the process, I’m in no rush. I’m going to take a few official visits and wait until late December to make my decision.”
Recruiting can be overwhelming to some players getting attention, phone calls, text messages from coaches they haven’t even met. But Smith understands the game and has a good handle on the process.
“The hardest part of recruiting is knowing when the coaches are sincere,” he said. “It’s all a business so you have to figure out which ones are real and which ones are just doing what they need to in order to get you. It’s like if they don’t get you, it’s on to the next one.”
For now, Smith is focused on improving the Owings Mills. Last season, head coach Steve Lurz’s squad finished 3-7 and snapped a 53-game losing streak.
“What Donovan brings to the team is immeasurable,” said Lurz. “He plays on both sides of the line and that is what makes a team go. He makes the other guys work harder going against him every day in practice.”
The Eagles are hoping to make noise in Baltimore County. Smith anchors an offensive line that averages 6-foot-2, 260 pounds per player. That line consists of left guard Ga’Keem Williams (6-3, 280), center Josh Gorskey (6-2, 270), right guard Lamar Poole (6-2, 260) and right tackle Tim Scott (6-1, 220).
Smith is excited about his team and has big expectations for his senior campaign.
“We’re an up-and-coming program,” he said. “Not to toot our own horn but we’re thinking playoffs.”