Semper Fi Bowl a blessing for Smallwood

For years Oklahoma wide receiver commit Jordan Smallwood (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) has felt like he is one of the better receivers in the nation.

His selflessness at Jenks never really let him get the chance to shine the way some receivers in pass-happy offense get the opportunity.

Because of Jenks’ run-first approach, it almost makes Smallwood’s senior season stand out more. He had 48 catches for 835 yards and 11 touchdowns. And last week he really got to see what he can do.

Smallwood’s only other offer before OU was Wyoming, but he was selected for the Semper Fi All-American Bowl last week. He took full advantage of the opportunity.

“I had a blast,” Smallwood said. “It was an extreme blessing. I learned how good of an athlete I am and got to see where my skills are.

“You never really know how good you are until you get a chance to play with some of the top players. I’ve always believed in myself.”

Smallwood was one of three OU commits playing in the game, joined by safety commits three-star prospect Ahmad Thomas (Miami/Central) and ESPN 300 recruit Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Caif./Central East). But Thomas plays for one of the best schools in the nation and played a very ambitious schedule.

Byrd, ranked No. 293 in the ESPN 300, was invited to the summer all-star showcase The Opening. This was Smallwood’s first all-star event of any kind.

“I showed a lot -- to others and to myself,” Smallwood said. “It was a great feeling, and it was the first time I got to play against great athletes all the time.

“It was good preparation for college because that’s what I’ll be seeing every single day. I couldn’t believe how big the game was. A lot of people were there. It was an important event. I’m proud I got that chance.”

And Smallwood is ready for more chances on the big stage. A firm OU commit since making his decision in June, an in-home visit by OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell in December only strengthened his relationship with OU and Norvell.

“My parents had a lot of questions, a lot of education questions they were happy to get answered,” Smallwood said. “And it was great for them to get to see Coach Norvell as he really is. He wasn’t being a coach or around other coaches. We had a great time.”

Smallwood said he’s just focused on going to OU at this point. He is going to run track in the spring and is going to keep himself in top shape moving forward. He is one of two OU commits at receiver for the 2013 class.