Pair of Jacks: Smith Picks NAU

Arizona Sports News online

Over the past few years Northern Arizona University head football coach Jerome Souers and his staff have zeroed in and landed some of the state’s top players.

Thursday afternoon the Lumberjacks added Mountain Pointe quarterback Jack Smith to their recent resume of in-state grabs.

“Every year they have an opportunity to play for a National Championship,” Smith told when reached for comment shortly after the decision. “The coaches really just display a winning mentality.”

The 6’1″, 185-duel threat quarterback completed 126-200 passes (63%) for 2005 yards and 15 touchdowns while being intercepted only four times. Smith also added 932 yards and nine scores on the ground as the Pride advanced to the Division I semifinals. The son of ASU head baseball coach Tracy Smith, Jack Smith played only one season for the Pride and held offers from UNLV, Central Michigan, New Mexico State, Montana and Eastern Washington. He initially committed to the Rebels before re-opening his recruitment last fall.

Smith said there were several other reasons why NAU was the right fit, both on and off the field.

“It’s close to home,” he said of his future school. “[Flagstaff] takes me back to the small town-feel which is exactly what I grew up in.”

The ‘Jacks are coming off a 7-4 season which included five victories in their last seven games. NAU was led by freshman quarterback Case Cookus who set a single-season record for touchdown passes with 37.

Smith seems ready to battle for starting spot next fall.

“They have a good player in front of me,” he said. “But I love some competition.”

That competition is a common trait in the Smith family.

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.