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July 2, 2012Several high-profile members of the Eastern Christian Academy class of 2013 have already made their commitments public, but Wendell Smallwood is content to do so at his own pace.
"I'm just starting to build relationships with coaches and looking to find the perfect place for me," Smallwood said. "A lot of my teammates have committed early, but I'm just trying to take my time and make a the best decision I can."
Smallwood did say that a core of six schools are showing him the most interest: Rutgers, West Virginia, Boston College, Auburn, Temple and UConn. Last month, Smallwood participated in the Rutgers Passing Camp, and after he and his ECA teammates captured the championship, the 5-foot-11, 194-pound halfback took an unofficial visit.
"Everything went well," Smallwood said of his tour. "They showed me around and I had a conversation with Coach Flood. He talked about getting me down there. I loved the facilities; they were some of the best I've seen. I also loved the atmosphere at Rutgers."
During their meeting, Smallwood said Flood was forthcoming but not overbearing with his sales pitch, highlighting the reasons why he would fit in well at Rutgers.
"He basically asked me questions about if I wanted to play close to home, where would I go," Smallwood said. "He never told me Rutgers was the perfect place, but he told me I would be a good fit in their Pro Style offense and they could help me develop."
Smallwood also spent plenty of time with running backs coach Norries Wilson, getting to know the first-year assistant on a deeper level while learning what he envisions Smallwood accomplishing if he came to Rutgers.
"Coach Wilson is very down to earth," Smallwood said. "He told me how I would fit in with the running backs and he coached me up a little bit."
As of now, Smallwood says he is "very interested" in Rutgers, as the Scarlet Knights are one of the first schools he has had the opportunity to see in person. No other visits are planned at this time, but Smallwood says he wants to take as many as possible before committing.
While he has no time frame in place for a decision, Smallwood does have an outline for what he will base his choice on.
"First, I'm basing my decision on how the team is doing and if I will have the opportunity to play early," he said. "The coaches mean a lot to me. I'm looking for coaches who can make me better as a player, person and student."