When I first saw the news that athlete Yawin Smallwood became the first commit in the class of 2010, I was pretty excited. But more so for the headline potential than for the actual announcement.
I was first contemplating playing up the Superman angle, but soon remembered that it was Smallville, not Smallwood.
No worries. I could still use the Wizard of Oz angle. Unfortunately, Smallwood is a Doherty Memorial (Worcester, Mass.) prospect; he's not from Dorothy Memorial.
So I guess he's just some guy named Yawin. What fun is that?
Anyway, Smallwood, a no-star prospect (which means he'll probably end up a two-star) who plays OLB in high school, gave Randy Edsall a call this morning to let him know he was coming to Storrs next fall. He was also receiving interest from B.C., Duke, Maryland and Rutgers, with his final choice coming down to UConn and B.C. I'll let you guess what happened next.
Per The Courant:
"[UConn was] on me a long time ago and stayed with me," Smallwood said. "I put a lot of trust in them. They offered me early, too. When I was there I was just comfortable with everything and everybody. It was an easy decision."
Smallwood initially set a July 15 deadline for himself on his decision, but after hearing what Big E had to offer, he couldn't wait that long. And it's probably only conincidental that around the same time, B.C. said it wanted to wait to see his academic records.
Which is fine. Even if a problem arises, I'm sure the athletic department hass the NCAA Clearinghouse on speed dial by now.
As far as his talent is concerned, ESPN's Brian Bennett broke out Smallwood's Scout Inc. profile, and he certainly sounds like a UConn football recruit: Not really a great player, but athletic enough to maybe be molded into one.
"Smallwood is an impressive athlete from a physical standpoint and has a lot of raw tools to mold and develop at the next level. A bit raw from a fundamental standpoint but is a good athlete doubling as productive running back and linebacker. "
And considering he probably went though a helluva childhood with the last name "Smallwood," he probably has some thick skin.
While Smallwood's commitment is the first for UConn, the rest of the conference is already working on making it into the double-digits. Considering Big E usually doesn't rope in any five stars and instead shoots for the under-the-radar guys -- strategy I'm convinced he uses just so he can run through the same "I'm smarter than Rivals.com" speech on signing day -- I guess it's not a big deal. But the only list in which Rutgers should be ahead of us is blowouts (both the hair and men's basketball variety). (Too soon?)