Re: UK Football 2012
Here's an article on the signing :
Za'Darius Smith, one of the nation's top-rated junior college prospects, announced today he will continue his football career by signing with Kentucky
Smith racked up 66 tackles and 11 sacks in two seasons at East Mississippi Community College
Smith rapidly ascended to SEC prowess. A basketball player at heart, he didn't play football until his senior year at Greenville High
GREENVILLE, Ala. -- Za'Darius Smith, one of the nation's top-rated junior college prospects, signed today to continue his collegiate football career with the Kentucky Wildcats at a press conference at Greenville High School.
"It's been rough, it's been tough and it was a hard thing to do making this decision," Smith said. "But the next two years, I'm going to have to go with the Wildcats."
Smith, the No. 1 junior college strong-side defensive end according to JCGridiron.com, follows his defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh from East Mississippi to Lexington, Ky. Bumbaugh was named the Wildcats defensive line coach on Dec. 18, one of the first hires by new coach Mark Stoops, who recruited Smith when he was the defensive coordinator at Florida State.
"I know this staff," Smith said. "I just feel comfortable here. Coach Stoops is a defensive man. (Brumbaugh) coached me for a year and he got me where I need to be, as in all the SEC and ACC offers. I can continue that and just go on to bigger and better places with him."
Smith racked up 66 tackles and 11 sacks in two seasons at East Mississippi Community College. This season he recorded 6.5 sacks and forced four fumbles on his way to being named to the NJCAA Football All-America Team.
Smith rapidly ascended to SEC prowess. A basketball player at heart, he didn't play football until his senior year at Greenville. His high school coach Ben Blackmon, who now coaches Gulf Shores, said he recruited the 6-foot-6, 250 specimen to the gridiron.
"He was a basketball kid in high school," Blackmon said. "We stayed after him for a long time trying to get him to come to football. He finally figured it out, 'football might be my sport.'"
Smith is the lone 4-star player in Kentucky's 61st ranked recruiting class on Rivals.com. While most of his focus is on football, he said he will be in attendance for the Wildcats' basketball games. He reports on Jan. 13 and is ready to make an impact.
"I want to take my talent to Kentucky," Smith said. "I can do a lot at Kentucky. I know the head coach. We're going to make big plays together."
He chose UK over FSU,Miami, MSU,Missouri and Texas A & M.