By Denise Spann - MileSplit Correspondent
Morgan Smalls, No. 7 on the MileSplit Class of 2020 Recruiting Rankings, is starting one of the most important parts of the overall recruiting process. Official Visits.
She recently travelled to the University of South Carolina for her first official, and will be visiting Georgia, USC, and LSU in the coming weeks.
The North Carolina-based senior at Panther Creek High School got her fair share of international experience this summer. She won the high jump at the Memorial Barrientos in Cuba, then followed it with a PR and US No. 1 in the high jump (6-2.25) at New Balance Nationals Outdoor -- the second of two national titles for her in the event across 2019. Smalls was then selected for the Pan-American Senior team -- alongside U.S. professionals -- and placed 10th in Lima, Peru.
She finished off her season with a PR in the long jump (19-8) and triple jump (41-8.25), which was good for for US No. 9. We caught up with Morgan recently and chatted about her recruiting process.
Was your first visit everything you expected it to be? What was it like being on a campus where you can possibly spend the next four years?
It was even more than I expected it to be. It was really fun hanging out with the team and getting the whole college atmosphere. It's a lot different from high school, (but) in a good way.
What facilities were you able to see while you were there? Which was your favorite?
I was able to see the dorms, the practice facility, where they eat, some of the coaches offices and classrooms. I liked the Dodie! It has so much stuff in it, like the cafeteria for food, it also has the academic stuff. It's all in one spot which is pretty cool.
Have you ever been to the University of South Carolina prior to your visit?
I actually haven't, but my parents went to a college called Claflin, which is right next-door to it. They're like literally back-to-back, but this is still my first time being on campus.
What made the University of South Carolina fun for you during your time there over the weekend?
Well one, the team: They're all very friendly, nice, funny and they were just great. But, also just being on campus, the people there were really polite. They said 'Hey, how are you doing?' It wasn't just like head down and not talking to anybody.
What made you pick South Carolina as a part of your top four schools?
I liked the coaches when they came for our visit, their morals, and what they spoke to me about and how they explained their team. They spoke about how the team is gelled and it made me want to go there and see what it was about.
Were you able to watch practice and what were you able to take away about how they do things?
I was able to watch practices; everything is so organized. They made it fun yet serious at the same time, which is what I enjoy.
If you did choose South Carolina, coach Deletha Quarles would be your event coach. What do you like about her and the things she's been able to show you so far?
Well I didn't see her coaching in action because they're just now starting off the season, so they're all kind of practicing together. But, herself as a person, she's really nice, kind and she doesn't seem like the type to yell and bark at you. I really like her; it really seems like she'd be a really great coach. Also, from the athletes themselves, you can see she's a great coach.
Do you know what you want your major to be? Does South Carolina have the classes and everything you need?
I wanted to major in law and minor in medicine, which is a pretty big thing. South Carolina does have it and based on what the told me they have a bunch of academic support so it should be easier if I go.
Were you able to learn anything else about the overall recruiting process from this first visit?
Yeah, I learned that it's not as stressful as it seems sometimes.
Now, that you've been on one visit do you think it's going to be harder to pick where you want to go?
Yes. South Carolina, like their team for sure set the bar pretty high, so to see how other schools are, it's going to be pretty hard to choose between them all.
What are you looking forward to about your upcoming visits?
I'm looking for the same things that I was looking for in the first one, great family-like atmosphere, a safe environment, and good support.
Why are you choosing to wait until after November to sign to your school?
Actually, it's kind of changing around, I might sign in November were not sure yet, it will kind of depend on how the visits go. Well, at first we were trying to see how many we could get, but we already started telling schools no and things like that. There's no point in waiting anymore, so we might just sign in November. Related Links: