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January 2, 2011

Smith struggles with decision

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SAN ANTONIO - The official visits are complete and college coaches have made their final pitches. Now, Owings Mills (Md.) four-star offensive tackle Donovan Smith is set to announce his college selection at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday.

"I have N.C. State, Penn State and UCLA," Smith said. "I just recently narrowed it down. I spoke about it with family and it came down to those three."

The process of getting from three schools to one is still ongoing, but Smith is sure he will be announcing his decision on Saturday.

"They are all even right now and it will probably be a last-minute thing," Smith said. "Talking with family is a major part of (narrowing it down), then talking with my coaches."

The 6-5, 270-pound Smith has taken official visits to each of his final three schools, and detailed what stands out about each program.

N.C. State: "They had a great season and Coach [Tom] O'Brien has definitely turned them around. He's still got another four or five years left on his contract, I believe, so that's good knowing he's not going anywhere."

Penn State: "The coaching staff is great. My recruiting coordinator, Coach (Larry) Johnson, and my position coach, Coach (Bill) Kenney, we definitely stay in contact."

UCLA: "Coach (Rick) Neuheisel - you can't get any better than that. He's a high-energy guy who can definitely relate to a lot of us. He's definitely got some plan for the next couple years coming up."

Recent speculation has Penn State as the team to beat for Smith entering the week, but the Maryland native insists all three schools were on equal ground heading into the week.

"People are going to say what they want," Smith said. "They had me committed to Maryland one week and Michigan State another, but we'll see on Saturday."

Saturday's game will give Smith the chance to showcase his talents against the nation's best high school athletes, and he knows he is ready for the challenge.

"I played a bunch of kids not up to my talent, so I'm definitely going to show that I can play with anybody and everybody.



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