Prairie View A&M has received a verbal commitment from Bastrop High wide receiver/return specialist Christian Smith.
Bastrop High's versatile Christian Smith is taking his electrifying act to the SWAC. Smith has verbally agreed to sign with the Prairie View A&M University Panthers on Wednesday.
A three-year starter for the Rams, Smith earned Class 4A All-State honors as a sophomore and was a three-time first-team All-District 2-4A selection as both a wide receiver and return specialist. He was also called upon as a situational defensive back.
Smith said PVAMU receivers coach Robert Bailey Jr. stayed in constant contact throughout the season.
"At the beginning of the football season, coach Bailey started talking to me," Smith said. "He called me just about every day, which really did a lot as far as attracting me to Prairie View."
Smith recently took his visit to the Prairie View, Texas campus, outside of Houston.
"I liked the environment and how the campus is set up," Smith said. "The coaches showed me a lot of love."
Bouncing back from an NCAA record 80-game losing streak, which stretched from 1989-98, the Panthers have returned to respectability. Extensive improvements have been made throughout the campus over the past 3-4 years, including a new $61 million football stadium and fieldhouse.
"They have a lot of new stuff," Smith said. "They have upgraded the entire football facility."
Smith had several Division II and III and junior college offers, but decided Prairie View was his best option.
"I had offers from some smaller schools and junior colleges," Smith said. "Some of my teammates are going to jucos, but I felt like going to a four-year school was the best route for me. I wanted to go somewhere where I can make a home."
Smith says the Panthers' offense has a familiar feel.
"They run almost the exact offense we ran at Bastrop High," Smith said.
Smith says he will report to PVAMU this summer.
"I am going to enroll in summer school, and start working out with the team," Smith said. "I need to work on my all-around game and catch up to the speed of the college level. College is going to be a lot faster than high school. I have to work on my route running and catching."
PVAMU is coming off of a 5-6 campaign (4-3 SWAC). Smith is confident the Panthers will begin climbing in the conference standings.
"Last year was coach (Eric) Dooley's first year, and he was making some changes," Smith said. "Coach Dooley has had time to put his stamp on the program, and we have a good class coming in."
Prairie View has also received a commitment from Edna Karr running back Ahmad Antoine.
Smith plans to major in kinesiology and enter the coaching ranks.
As a senior, Smith helped the state quarterfinalist Rams to a 9-3 record. But his favorite memory is from his sophomore season when he spearheaded Bastrop's late comeback in a homecoming victory over Richwood.
"That was my breakout game," Smith recalled. "We were down two touchdowns late in the game, and I had a punt return for a touchdown and caught the game-winning touchdown pass."
For Smith, Wednesday will mark the culmination of a long-term goal.
"I have been waiting for this day since junior high," Smith said. "That's when I really started getting serious about football and wanting to play in college."
SIGNINGS/BANQUET: A mock signing ceremony will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Bastrop Municipal Center, preceding the Rams' football banquet. Admission is $7.