Very excited to be able to say I just committed to extend my football career as a Rebel! ♦️#UNLV♦️ pic.twitter.com/l0g6V6eA38
— Jackie (@Jack2mith) July 27, 2015
The senior who arrived in Arizona last fall after his dad, Tracy Smith, took over as Arizona State’s head baseball coach said the time was just right to make his decision which coincided with the Pride opening their fall workouts in Ahwatukee.
“I committed early because as much as you don’t want to think about colleges you do,” Smith told Sports360AZ.com when reached Monday afternoon. “Having it locked in at this point allows me to go play and not worry about the recruiting process and what it becomes.”
Smith said he looked to dad for recruiting advice after landing on college radars when the 6’1, 180-pound duel-threat quarterback was playing for Bloomington North. He saw something more than just football when he first connected with the coaching staff at UNLV.
“They pride their program off of people,” he explained to Sports360AZ.com. “They don’t just recruit the best player but someone they see as a young man and to me that was special. They have about eight commits already with a new coaching staff. That alone is able to show the direction of the program.”
The leader of the Rebels’ hopeful revival is long-time Las Vegas prep coach Tony Sanchez who arrived at UNLV in December after building nearby Bishop Gorman High School into a national power. The 40-year-old led the Gaels to an 85-5 record and six consecutive 4A state championships. He also coached University of Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon at Gorman.
“I think his production at Bishop speaks for itself,” Smith said of his future head coach. “I was born and raised in the midwest and still, every Friday, would hear about Bishop.”
Smith will have some local company at UNLV. Former Horizon quarterback Dalton Sneed will be a true freshman quarterback this fall and the Rebels roster features six other players with in-state ties.