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Washington State still in the running for Sav’ell Smalls after country’s No. 1 OLB announces top-six schools

UPDATED: Sun., Aug. 18, 2019, 10:07 p.m.

Sav’ell Smalls, the conutry’s top-rated outside linebacker prospect, walks off the field at Martin Stadium after attending the Crimson & Gray game last spring. Smalls listed Washington State among his top-six schools Sunday. (Theo Lawson/The Spokesman-Review)
Sav’ell Smalls, the conutry’s top-rated outside linebacker prospect, walks off the field at Martin Stadium after attending the Crimson & Gray game last spring. Smalls listed Washington State among his top-six schools Sunday. (Theo Lawson/The Spokesman-Review)

The country’s top 2020 outside linebacker prospect is still considering a future at Washington State.

Sav’ell Smalls, a five-star recruit from Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, just south of Seattle, indicated a few days ago he was close to cutting his list of 12 schools in half. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound outside linebacker did so Sunday, posting a graphic of himself wearing jerseys of the six schools he’s still considering.

Along with Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee, Washington and Oregon, Smalls is seen wearing an anthracite Washington State jersey and helmet. Smalls was previously considering seven other schools, but he left Florida, Ohio State, Texas, Clemson, Miami, Oklahoma and Texas A&M off his final list.

WSU still may be an underdog in the pursuit of Smalls, but the mere fact the linebacker is considering the Cougars indicates the growth the program has made under eighth-year coach Mike Leach, not to mention the strides on the recruiting trail.

If the Cougars did land Smalls, he’d be the top-ranked recruit in program history. 247Sports considers him the ninth-best recruit in the country, top-rated outside linebacker and the top player in the state of Washington. ESPN previously considered him the top player on the West Coast.

Smalls paid a visit to Pullman for the Crimson & Gray game last spring.

A Burien native, Smalls began his prep career at Kennedy Catholic before transferring to Seattle’s Garfield High the past two seasons. Smalls is returning to the Lancers to finish his high school career this fall.

Last season at Garfield, Smalls doubled as a linebacker/wide receiver for the Bulldogs, recording 21 tackles for loss and seven sacks to go with 33 receptions, 673 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

In the past, the Cougars have been able to swing a few major prospects who were being recruited for thier defense by offering them a chance to play in Leach’s Air Raid offense. That’s how WSU initially landed Jamir Thomas, a linebacker who’d received offers from Big Ten schools like Michigan and Michigan State, but ultimately chose the Cougars because they’d offered him as a running back.

Smalls talked to Cougfan.com about his trip to Pullman in April, saying “The trip to Wazzu definitely exceeded my expectations. Just seeing the other side of the state and the different culture and people was cool. There were a lot of people from Seattle there as well. I saw (WSU basketball signee and Garfield alum) Noah Williams, people I went to high school with and friends. Pullman was just welcoming. It was a good vibe.

“It’s different, but I enjoyed it. Everything is close and people are walking everywhere. There’s a real sense of community because it’s so small and everyone knows each other. The program is what the school is all about. I definitely liked that.”

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