In front of a packed school assembly on Friday afternoon at Kennedy Catholic High School, 5-star senior outside linebacker Sav’ell Smalls put his arm around University of Washington 2021 commit Sam Huard and addressed the crowd with his microphone, after receiving his jersey for the Under Armour All-American game.
“We’re going to bring Montlake its first national championship since 1991,” Smalls said.
After a long and winding recruiting process, the highly sought after recruit verbally committed to the hometown Washington Huskies.
“To me, it was really a no-brainer,” Smalls said.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound defender had offers from plenty of big-time schools across the country and recently narrowed his list to UW, Alabama, Washington State, Florida State, Oregon and Tennessee.
Small’s road to Washington wasn’t a straightforward one. At one point, he eliminated the Huskies from the list of schools he was considering.
“There were just a lot of things going on in my life (at the time), and I just felt like getting away from home would be better for my development as a player, and a person,” Smalls said. “Obviously, that is not the case anymore.”
Smalls gives UW its 20th commit in the class, which is currently the top-ranked 2020 class in the Pac-12 and the 12th-ranked nationally, per 247sports.com. Smalls is the highest-rated recruit for the Huskies in the Chris Petersen era.
Smalls rejoined the Kennedy Catholic squad this year, transferring back to the school where he spent his freshman year after two seasons at Garfield High School in Seattle. Playing alongside Huard this season meant constant recruiting pitches from the future Husky quarterback.
“He did not let off,” Smalls said with a laugh.
Smalls said he hopes to come into college and make an immediate impact.
“I want to see the field right away,” Smalls said. “I am going to work hard. I will handle business here. I never want to sit on the bench — I have never sat on the bench in any part of my life. I hope to make a big impact on the city.”
Ultimately, staying close to home won out for Smalls, who will have the opportunity to play on Saturdays in front of his parents, Joseph and Sophia, and two younger brothers, Savion and Sincere.
“It’s huge,” Smalls said. “Not a lot of people really get to play at a stadium that is like five minutes from the neighborhood they spent most of their childhood in. Just being so close to home, and so close to my family, it means the world to me.
“All my life, I grew up in Seattle. I have repped it to the extreme. I’ve always said it is the best city in the world. There is no lie in that. I still believe that, and it is the greatest setting in college football.”