August 23, 2011

Smith has huge weekend

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One of the top juniors in the nation, Jaylon Smith, kicked off his junior season the right way this past weekend. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound linebacker/running back from Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers made a major impact on both sides of the football in his season opener, leading Luers to a 32-21 victory.

"I had 218 rushing yards, three touchdowns, and three tackles-for-loss," Smith explained. "I had runs of 65 and 78 yards. Obviously the first thing was in the trenches, our offensive line did a heck of a job so I take my hat off to them."

For Smith, the big game is the first step in justifying the enormous amount of hype that has been building around him after some outstanding summer camp performances.

"It really feels good," he said. "I'm staying humble with all of the hype and everything and I'm just glad to be living up to the hype. There are a lot of people saying that I'm going to be one of the top players in the nation so I'm pretty glad that I showed what I'm capable of."

With his own season opener out of the way, Smith is ready to support his old brother, Ohio State running back Rod Smith, who prepares for his opener in two weeks.

"I talked to him yesterday," he explained. "He's liking it down there, everything is turning out good for him. He's just working hard for that (starting) spot. Everybody wants it but it will come down to who wants it more and I'm sure he's ready."

With his older brother being a highly rated running back coming out of High School combined with his own outstanding early season performance, some have questioned whether he will play on offense or defense at the college level.

"Everybody has been asking me that," Smith joked. "I'm not my brother. I've accepted that I'm going to play defense in college and that's what I will do. Running back is just in my genes I guess, that's probably why I do it."

On the recruiting trail, Smith's impressive weekend on the gridiron carried over into Monday evening as he picked up his fifth verbal offer.

"Everything is going good right now," Smith said. "I just picked up my fifth offer actually from Tennessee. When I hear the name Tennessee I think of Eric Berry and Indianapolis' own Peyton Manning. Those are really the only two people that I know that went there and I've heard things about them but I haven't got a chance to research them but I will soon."

Smith maintains that he is still very open in the recruiting process and he's hoping to make a couple of unofficial visits in September, one of which will be to Ohio State.

"I'll be at the opener at Ohio State on September 3rd watching my brother," he said. "I will be there to support him and the weekend of the 10th of September is our bye week so I'm looking forward to getting to a game somewhere."

Though his brother redshirted last season, Smith still made the trip to Columbus for a pair of big games and came away impressed with what he saw.

"I went (to Columbus) when they played Michigan and Miami," he said. "The fans are great. I liked how they did everything. They definitely tailgated nice and just the overall atmosphere, I could tell the people were very traditional with everything."


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