Franklin's Steven Smothers tries to fool everyone all week but signs with West Virginia after all

Steven Smothers, Franklin High School football player, signs his letter of intent to attend and play football at West Virginia University. (Katherine Dunn, Baltimore Sun video)

Franklin's Steven Smothers has had fun with the recruiting process ever since it started and it was no different the week before signing day.

Smothers wore a different college sweatshirt to school each day.


"I just wanted to throw everybody off a little bit, give them something to talk about," Smothers said with a grin, "but my coaches knew I was going to West Virginia."

Wednesday morning, Smothers signed his National Letter of Intent with West Virginia, joining five of his teammates -- Kareem Felder (Ohio State), Damon Hazelton (Ball State), Murad Hussain (Albany), Eric Ostrow (Shepherd) and Aman Speed (West Virginia Wesleyan) -- for a signing ceremony in the Franklin gym.

For Smothers, getting the chance to play major college football was a "dream I had since I was little."

Despite all the sweatshirts, he was fully committed to the Mountaineers. A good friend of former West Virginia star Tavon Austin, who now plays with the Los Angeles Rams, Smothers, dubbed Tavon 2.0, would like to follow the same path as Austin, with whom he shares a Godfather. At 5 feet 10, 165 pounds, he has similar size and looks up to Austin's example.

Smothers estimates that he had visited the Morgantown campus more than 20 times before he committed in August.

He thought a little about some other programs, he said, but never seriously.

"I was pretty much committed to the school," he said of West Virginia. "I wasn't really committed to the coaches. I mean yeah, I like the coaches and I'm happy with the coaches but I was really committed to the school, so when you're committed to a school, it's really hard to swing to a different program, so it was here and there a little but for the most part I was really rock solid with West Virginia."

Smothers, an three-time All-Metro player at wide receiver or athlete, was the Player of the Game in the Maryland Crab Bowl senior all-star game in December after catching three passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-28 victory. In the Offense Defense All-American Bowl Jan. 1 in Daytona Beach, Fla. he caught a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone that landed No. 3 on ESPN's Sport Center Top 10.


Rated the No. 15 senior in Maryland and the No. 30 athlete in the national by the recruiting web site Rivals.com, Smothers led the Indians to two two state championships and scored a total of six touchdowns in the two state finals. He also excelled at cornerback and as a return man.