Culminating a couple of months worth of speculation, 2011 signee DaMarcus Smith announced Monday that he had requested a release from his UCF Letter of Intent.
The only problem with that request? It appears the quarterback will have to pry a release from George O’Leary‘s cold, dead fingers.
Clearly agitated by the development, the UCF head coach told the Orlando Sentinel that he’s never released a player from his LOI, and he’s not about to start now.
“I met with him a month ago and he basically talked to me about that situation, and he left me saying he was 100 percent a Knight,” O’Leary told the paper. “But every time he goes back to the Louisville area, it seems to be questionable what’s taking place there.
“His mother did call me last night and expressed that they’d like a release and I told her no. And that if they have to do what they have to do as far as an appeal, they have to do that. But they’re not getting a release from UCF.”
Smith has the right to appeal O’Leary’s decision to the National Letter of Intent board and state his case as to why the “extenuating circumstances” mentioned in yesterday’s statement should allow for a release. It’s unclear when Smith will file an appeal, although there’s little doubt that will be his tack at some point in the very near future.
The four-star quarterback had been a long-time verbal commitment to his hometown school of Louisville, but abruptly flipped his official commitment to UCF two days after signing day last month. The backlash from fans of the Louisville football program was swift and harsh, with Smith facing tremendous pressure from some in the community to renege on his UCF commitment and flip back to the Cardinals.
If Smith is not given his release, he would be forced to sit out the 2011 season if he does indeed follow through and transfer to Louisville. Again, though, Smith and his family would be wise to refrain from holding their breath waiting for O’Leary to change his mind.
“That’s why you sit down, it’s a long recruiting period. A letter was signed by him and his mom. Again, I think as a head coach of a Division I program, those letters are what commits a youngster to your program. Just like it commits us to them with a financial aid letter.
“Again, with us, as far as we’re concerned it’s out of our hands. If they file an appeal, it’s not our decision. But our decision is not to grant a release and I would never grant a release in any situation, really.”