Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2020 DE Sav'ell Smalls Thrilled to Receive Notre Dame Offer

May 28, 2017

One of the final stops for Notre Dame during the Spring Evaluation Period was on the West Coast. The defensive staff made a trip to Garfield High School (Wash.) to make sure 2020 defensive end Sav’ell Smalls knew he had an offer from Notre Dame and that they felt he was one of the best in the country.

“About a week or two ago, Notre Dame had been at my school,” Smalls told Irish Sports Daily. “They had told my coach I was about to get the offer and to be patient. My coach just texted me, and he said Notre Dame was at the school again. “They felt I was elite and one of the best in the class and I had an offer.”

Michigan, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, and Washington have also offered the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder, but the offer from Notre Dame carried weight for the four-star prospect.

“It was a good moment,” said Smalls. “I pride myself on academics, and I know it’s a school that I can go get a degree and then a job. They pride themselves in academics and send their guys to a lot of places.

“I know they play great football, but it felt great to know I have a good place to go to school too.”

Despite the offers and attention, Smalls doesn’t feel the weight of the recruiting process and is going about his daily life as a normal freshman in high school.

“I feel normal, and I do the same things I normally do,” laughed Smalls. “I still work hard, and nothing has really changed. A lot of people think it’s a big deal, but I won’t be making a decision in the near future, so it’s not impacting my life. I am just working hard to get ready for the season.”

Recruiting isn’t a huge priority for the Seattle native, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t thought about it. Smalls has taken trips to a few West Coast programs and will likely head out to see more schools next summer.  

“I have taken an unofficial visit to Washington, Oregon, UCLA, and USC,” explained Smalls. “Washington is the closest and hometown school. This summer, I don’t have any plans to visits any schools or camps. I am going to stay home and grinding for the season, but next summer I will get out and visit more schools.”

Smalls admits there isn’t a dream offer out there, but Oregon is the school his peers grew up watching.

“I never had a dream offer, but everyone liked Oregon as a kid,” Smalls stated. “They change their uniforms every week. They always have the pink uniforms for breast cancer and crazy uniforms. All the kids out here liked Oregon.”

It's clear Smalls doesn’t look or play like a freshman when turn on his highlights and part of his success is attributed to him playing multiple sports.

“I have good hands and footwork,” explained Smalls. “I play basketball and track, so my footwork is getting better and better. My motor is always going, and it never stops. I want it more. I outwork whoever is going against me.

“I am working to get stronger and faster. I want to fit my hips better at defensive end to make it easier. I am adding stuff to my game.”

As for a position in college, Smalls believes it’s too early to lock in on one spot, but it will likely be outside linebacker or rush end.  

“It just depends on the team and situation,” said Smalls. “Some schools want me to play outside linebacker, and some want me to play defensive end. Then other schools have said I could play both. It really depends on how I grow and how much faster I get.” 

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