Recruiting: Patience pays for Palmyra QB Max Smyth
Palmyra High School football coach Jack Geisel has talked a lot with senior quarterback Max Smyth about patience. Smyth is the triggerman for the Panthers' high-powered, no-huddle, spread offense.
Palmyra High School football coach Jack Geisel has talked a lot with senior quarterback Max Smyth about patience.
Smyth is the triggerman for the Panthers' high-powered, no-huddle, spread offense.
Smyth leads the state of New Jersey in passing yards with 2,784.
He has thrown for 30 touchdowns for a team with a 10-1 record heading into next Saturday's Group 1 sectional championship game.
Smyth has thrown for 62 touchdowns over the last two seasons, leading Palmyra to a combined 19-3 record and teaming with South Carolina-bound wide receiver Kelvin Harmon to form one of the more prolific passing attacks in recent South Jersey football history.
Still, Smyth's coach preaches patience.
"The big thing with Max is that we always want to hurry up and go, go, go," Geisel said. "Sometimes, he has a tendency to get a little too hyped up and try to do too much. He wants to make plays for the team.
"But I tell him, 'Take your time, look at the defense, think about what matchup you want.' "
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Smyth says he's trying to take a more measured approach, both on the field, and when it comes to the curiously cautious approach of college recruiters.
"I'm putting it in the back of my mind," Smyth said. "I'm trying not to think about it and just go out and do what I do."
Smyth concedes there have been times when he has felt "frustrated" by a lack of college offers.
Smyth appears to have the size, arm strength and foot speed that recruiters seek in quarterbacks. He has forced a few passes as a senior, but he has just 14 interceptions in 21 games over the last two seasons.
"I can't understand it," Geisel said. "Here's a kid who's 6-4, 210 and he can move his feet. He's not slow-footed. I don't know what else they [college coaches] are looking for.
"I know it bothers him a little, and maybe that's why he's pressed a little bit this year. But he has to be patient with it. It's going to work out for him."
Smyth knows that a lot of offers from programs at the Football Championship Subdivision level of NCAA Division I tend to come in December and January.
"Wagner told me they might offer me in December," Smyth said. "Stony Brook said the same thing but then they just signed a Juco [junior college) guy."
Smyth said both Temple and Pitt have expressed interest in having him attend a prep school and perhaps join their class of 2017. Smyth has been in contact with The Hun School in Princeton about possibly spending a postgraduate year at the exclusive private school before college.
"I would prefer not to do that," Smyth said. "I would prefer to be in the class of 2016 and go to college next year."
Geisel believes Smyth's recruitment will pick up in the near future, especially if the quarterback plays well in the Central Jersey Group 1 title game against undefeated Shore.
In the meantime, the coach has the same advice for his star quarterback when it comes to the pursuit of touchdowns and a scholarship: Stay patient.
"I think Max is starting to relax," Geisel said. "He'll come off the field and I'll ask him, 'What did you see?' He's gotten so much better in terms of seeing things out on the field and taking what's there from the defense."
Offers and Interest
St. Joseph offensive lineman Derek Lomax has picked up an offer from Michigan to join the Wolverines as a preferred walk-on.
Moorestown all-purpose Greg Gamble also has picked up an offer from Michigan to join the Wolverines as a preferred walk-on.
St. Augustine senior defensive back A.J. Baxter has an offer from Rhode Island.
Cherry Hill East lacrosse player Evan Campbell has an offer from St. Joseph's. - Phil Anastasia