Football

High School Football: Springfield’s Te’Sean Smoot looking ahead to senior season after productive June on recruiting trail

High School Football: Springfield’s Te’Sean Smoot looking ahead to senior season after productive June on recruiting trail

Springfield quarterback Te’Sean Smoot hopes his active June leads to a fruitful fall when it comes to recruiting.

For now, he’s more worried about getting the Wildcats ready for a run at the Division I state championship.

Smoot has more than a dozen Division I offers already, but he could be in line for more once he produces some new game tape this fall.

“A lot of them liked me and maybe I could have gotten an offer but they were full at quarterback so just being able to get good feedback here and there, I was one of the best QBs at some of the camps I was at,” Smoot said after a workout Thursday morning. “They tell me they like my poise, my confidence and my belief in myself in all my throws. Thinking I’m going to make a throw and knowing I’m going to make a throw. Having a good base and natural throwing motion and just working on mechanics, feet, making sure I don’t overthrow on throws.”

A scholarship crunch — created by the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility to players last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and also fueled by coaches holding some spots for potential transfers — has hurt many prospects in the class of 2022.

So, too, did an NCAA-mandated recruiting dead period that prevented players from working out in person for coaches for more than a year.

While the former will linger, the latter was lifted in June.

Smoot took advantage by visiting more than a handful of schools last month. He worked out at camps, including West Virginia, Ohio State, Western Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina State.

He said those schools remain in touch and mentioned Vanderbilt and Illinois as Power 5 programs with interest in him as a receiver or defensive back.

Smoot prefers to play quarterback at the next level, but he said he would rather play another position than sit the bench. That means even if he signed somewhere as a quarterback and started out at the bottom of the depth chart, he would be open to playing another position early in his career while learning the offense.

A two-year starter, Smoot already has plenty of experience at quarterback, and Springfield head coach Maurice Douglass pointed out being the son of SHS defensive coordinator Conley Smoot is a plus, too.

“The thing about ‘T’ is the fact that he’s so seasoned, and there won’t be anything that he hasn’t seen that’s out there with his dad being the defensive coordinator and breaking down film,” Douglass said. “He’ll know what they want to show him just about every snap as far as the coverage aspect is concerned.”

Smoot showed marked improvement last season, raising his completion percentage from 53.6 to 59.2 and throwing for 226.9 yards per game, an increase of more than 50.

He was also a much bigger run threat, averaging 60.3 yards per game on the ground last season after getting just 15.4 the year before.

He has worked on his accuracy, arm strength and awareness as he has gotten older, and those are all areas he expects to be able to continue improving.

However, there is a potential problem for the three-star prospect when it comes to college coaches’ evaluation.

At around 6-foot or 6-1, he lacks ideal height for a big-time college quarterback prospect. That is certainly not a disqualifier, but it likely means he has to prove himself more in all his other traits.

“A lot of schools see my film and throws I can make and like it but they want to see my throw in person so I just wanted to make sure I got around to all the schools that like me from my film and showing them in person that I can make every throw and that I’m mobile, a true dual-threat,” he said.

He has large hands and a long wingspan, both of which work in his favor in projecting him at quarterback — or another position, such as safety.

He worked out at defensive back for Duke coaches and felt that went well.

However it works out, Smoot sounds content to wait and see at this point.

“All the schools that liked me since my sophomore year and saw me improve my junior year, it was good getting to go down and let them see me in person and how I work in person,” Smoot said. “If I have a big senior season, they will stay in contact if something were to open up like with transfers and stuff like that.”

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