Jake Smith Looking to Build Off Strong Junior Season

There are certain players who make fans stop what their doing when they get the football in their hands. Notre Dame athlete Jake Smith is the definition of that player.

The junior had that effect this past season, accounting for over 2,000 all-purpose yards and 28 total  touchdowns while the Saints made it to the 5A state title game. After a sophomore season where he battled injuries, and the Saints did not participate in the postseason after AIA sanctions were down, Smith, and the Saints as a whole moved on in a big way in 2017.

“It was a really great season for us,” Smith said. “We came up short of our end goal, but that’s just the way it was. We played our hearts out and had a great season overall, this whole team together. It was a great bounce-back year.”

College coaches took notice as well, with Smith racking up 20+ offers in a few short months.

Vanderbilt, Illinois, Washington State, Liberty, Indiana, Syracuse, Cal, Duke, UCLA, Nevada, Penn State, ASU, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Memphis, Utah, Arizona, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Notre Dame have all offered Smith, who also notched an invite to the 2019 Under Armour All-American Bowl invite as well. 

It’s clear Smith, an Ed Doherty nominee, makes plays in games, but, according to head coach George Prelock, it’s what he does leading up to Friday nights that has made the difference.

“Jake is an outstanding competitor who works extremely hard in practice,” Prelock said in a message. “His efforts at practice have translated to success on game days. Jake leads by example by his work ethic at practice, and it raises the level of play as a team. We are excited to see Jake to continue to develop throughout his senior year.”

The Saints were one of the most experienced teams in the state with a strong senior class. While a good chunk of the roster will move on and graduate, Smith said he will use lessons he learned from them to be a senior leader next season.

I’m just looking to kind of follow their lead and do what they did this year,” Smith said. “I learned so much from them. Hopefully I can just carry on their legacy.”

Jake Smith Recruiting Update

Smith said he plans to use this offseason to visit as many campuses as he can. Ideally, he would like to make a commitment before his senior season, but won’t rush the process until he is sure.