It took seeing the end of his football career for Chauncy Smart to realize he didn’t want to say goodbye.
Signed with Florida State for track — he runs the 100- and 200-meter for Auburndale (Fla.) Senior — Smart began to have second thoughts. The 2017 3-star athlete decided he wanted to play football after all and was granted his release by FSU last Thursday.
“I’ve been playing football all my life, and I’ve only been running track for three years,” Smart told Land of 10. “Football’s my first love. And just focusing on track, I couldn’t see that. I couldn’t just drop football and let it go like that.”
After his football recruitment reopened, Michigan State jumped on board, as first reported by 247Sports’ Sean Scherer. The Spartans had shown interest since the spring, and after ending contact once Smart signed with Florida State, it ramped up again after his release.
Michigan State, which signed a slot receiver in 2-star recruit Laress Nelson, sees the 5-foot-8 Smart playing a similar role. Wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel said the Spartans also like his ability to contribute in the return game.
“He loves my speed and how I can create separation,” Smart said of Samuel. “They could really use that for their offense, and I could come in and work hard to get playing time. I know he told me he likes my speed and how I get the ball and create separation in 0.1 seconds.”
Smart, who calls himself a “pure sprinter,” doesn’t remember his 40-yard dash time the last time he he tested it, but he knows it would be better now. Running track has him in tip-top form.
That speed has plenty of other football programs calling: Arizona, South Alabama, South Florida and Texas-San Antonio, to name a few. He said many FCS programs have been in contact as well, but he sees himself on a bigger stage. That’s what is appealing about Michigan State.
“All I know is that it’s big-time D1 football,” he said. “(Samuel) was recruiting me for a little minute, but after I made my decision and had signed with Florida State, they kind of backed off … I was all locked and loaded with Florida State, but now that my recruitment is back open, I’m going to start doing more research and stuff like that.”
Part of that research has to do with his major. Smart wants to study communications and eventually go into sports broadcasting. That and the atmosphere on campus will be key in his decision.
“I want to see if I can see myself living there for the next 4-5 years,” he said, “just the culture and the academic part and my major, really, seeing if they have my major — if they have everything that I want. Most importantly, academics. I don’t want to go somewhere that slacks on academics.”
Smart took official visits to Iowa and Florida State during his track recruitment, leaving him three for football. He’ll visit South Florida this weekend. He’d like to visit Michigan State before the end of the month.
He’s not sure what he’ll do with the fifth visit. Arizona looks like a possibility. What he does know is that he wants to have a decision made by the end of March.