Well, that didn’t take long.
News broke within the hour that UGA director of personnel Sam Petitto was taking a job at Alabama in the personnel department. That led to a quick decision by Class of 2017 4-star receiver Devonta Smith.
I'm officially decommitting from the University of Georgia
— Devonta Smith (@Smityyy03) January 14, 2016
Smith tweeted out his abrupt de-commitment from UGA on Thursday afternoon shortly after news broke about Petitto’s hire as an assistant director of player personnel at Alabama. Why did Smith make the decision?
Well, Petitto was well-connected in the commitment of Smith, a native of Amite, La. He used to coach high school football in Louisiana and was very well-known in his community.
Smith, an Amite High School standout, told SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner he really hadn’t heard much from the UGA staff in 2016.
“I’ve been thinking ever since coach Richt left,” Smith said. “My family and I have been talking for a minute.”
Smith said he is still considering UGA, along with Alabama, Baylor, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Josh Perry, his high school teammate, is also committed to play at Alabama. Does that mean Alabama leads for Smith?
“They are in the mix but I wouldn’t say they are leading,” Smith said.
Petitto’s migration to Alabama also greatly reduces UGA’s chances to land 4-star defensive back Shyheim Carter, Sr. from the Class of 2016.
Smith’s decision now leaves UGA with just two commitments for the Class of 2017. That’s 5-star athlete Richard LeCounte III of Liberty County and 4-star linebacker/safety hybrid Breon Dixon of Peachtree Ridge High School in Metro Atlanta.
LeCounte was the first commitment of the Kirby Smart era at UGA.
Smith’s decision makes him the third prospect in the Class of 2017 to de-commit from UGA and the sixth player to re-open their recruiting process since Mark Richt was fired by UGA.
WHAT THIS MEANS: Watch Smith’s Hudl film below. Be sure to pay close attention to his feet and the way he changes direction and covers ground. DawgNation learned from a member of Smith’s inner circle this summer that more than one head coach in the SEC told Smith and his coaches that he had the type of speed and athleticism that could win him a Heisman Trophy one day. He has that much potential.
The 6-foot-1, 155-pounder is rated as the nation’s No. 14 overall receiver and the No. 86 overall prospect for the Class of 2017.
Unless otherwise indicated, all player rankings and ratings are from the 247sports Composite
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.