Sav’ell Smalls will not sign a letter of intent with the University of Washington.
The five-star outside linebacker and Kennedy Catholic standout made that clear in a story published by 247Sports national editor Brandon Huffman on Wednesday, and confirmed the news to The Seattle Times.
“As I start to see and think about who’s really going to be in it, I really wanted to be honest with Washington and I don’t want to waste their time, when they could be spending it on the betterment of their program,” Smalls told 247Sports. “I didn’t end up getting to any of their spring practices because I just wasn’t feeling right about going there and having them recruit me when I’m not going to end up going there.”
Smalls — a 6-foot-3, 230-pound prospect, who is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 1 outside linebacker and No. 4 overall prospect in the 2020 class — emphasized that his decision to eliminate UW centered on a desire to leave his hometown and experience something new.
“I’ll always have love for Washington, for Coach Pete (Chris Petersen), Coach Ikaika (Malloe), Coach PK (Pete Kwiatkowski), Coach (Jimmy) Lake,” Smalls told 247Sports. “It’s not anything about them at all. I want to find the best fit for me. I want to find the best program to not only get me out in three years with a degree, but to also challenge me as a person so I’m able to become a better man.
“I started to think that the best step for me would be to do that away from home.”
On the subject of west coast schools, Smalls told 247Sports that he has not eliminated Washington State and Oregon from contention. The rest of his top 12 — which was originally released on Feb. 10 — includes Alabama, Florida, Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, Clemson, Florida State and Texas A&M.
Smalls spent his sophomore and junior seasons at Seattle’s Garfield High School before transferring back to Kennedy Catholic, where his prep career began. Washington was the first school to offer him at the tail end of his freshman season in December 2016.
Now the Huskies will have to move on without him. Washington currently has three verbal commits in its 2020 class — quarterback Ethan Garbers, tight end Mark Redman and offensive lineman Gaard Memmelaar. UW signed a pair of outside linebackers in 2019 in four-star prospect Laiatu Latu and three-star recruit Bralen Trice. The current crop of Husky outside linebackers contributed just three total sacks last season. On the whole, Washington produced 24 sacks in 14 games, its lowest output since 2008.
Besides Smalls, there are five other Washington products in 247Sports’ most recent ranking of the top 247 prospects in the 2020 class — wide receiver and Ohio State commit Gee Scott Jr. and uncommitted prospects running back Sam Adams II, offensive guard Levi Rogers, cornerback Ayden Hector and offensive guard Geirean Hatchett. Adams, Hector and Hatchett all have UW offers.