If you can’t beat them, convince one of theirs to join you.
Former Bowling Green State University football coach Dave Clawson exacted a little revenge Monday for the four years of anguish inflicted by his old rival, pillaging the University of Toledo’s recruiting class and leaving with the Rockets’ top prospect a week before signing day.
Travis Smith, who was Michigan player of the year, confirmed he flipped his commitment to Clawson and Wake Forest, a decision that leaves Toledo, the team with whom he was committed since June, without a quarterback in its 2014 recruiting haul.
Smith, who went 47-0 and won four state titles at Ithaca High School, told The Blade last month he would sign with UT unless he was presented an opportunity elsewhere he deemed “more perfect than Toledo.”
That offer apparently came this weekend when the three-star prospect visited Wake Forest. Clawson, who dropped his last four games in the I-75 rivalry, delivered a stiff blow to the Rockets, making Smith the third quarterback pledge in his initial class with the Demon Deacons.
Coaches are not allowed by NCAA rules to comment on unsigned players.
Contributing perhaps to Smith’s change of heart is speculation Toledo could lose quarterbacks coach Scott Isphording. Isphording, who took charge in Smith's recruitment, is mulling over an offer to be Ohio University’s co-offensive coordinator. Isphording spent the 2009 season with the Bobcats as tight ends coach before coming to Toledo.
The immediate impact of Smith’s departure is negligible, as Toledo has three quarterbacks in house with between two and four years of eligibility. Competition between junior Phillip Ely, sophomore Logan Woodside, and freshman Michael Julian will commence in the spring. Smith was likely headed for a redshirt year.
Signing day is Feb. 5. Rivals.com reports Toledo with 21 commitments, though several are expected to grayshirt (not join the team until 2015).