INDIANAPOLIS — Fort Wayne Bishop Luers running back and linebacker Jaylon Smith has added The Indianapolis Star Indiana Mr. Football award to his collection after playing on state championship teams each year of his high school career.
The Notre Dame recruit started on four Class 2A state title teams, capping that off by running for 150 yards and three touchdowns in last month’s championship game.
Smith is the first Mr. Football winner from Fort Wayne — the state’s second-largest city — in the award’s 21-year history, The Star said in announcing the award Thursday.
Smith received 23 votes from the Indiana Football Coaches Association panel, ahead of Warren Central linebacker Tim Kimbrough with 11 votes and Mishawaka quarterback Sam Schrader with five votes.
Smith’s older brother, Rod Smith, was a standout running back at Harding High School. The brothers played against one another in 2009, when Rod was a senior and Jaylon a freshman. Luers won the game, 14-8.
“That was a good week,” Jaylon said with a laugh. “But I always watched him growing up and always looked up to him. I watched all of his success and took it all in. I wanted to figure out a way I could be as good as him or possibly even better.”
Rod Smith now plays at Ohio State, where he has been a reserve running back for two seasons.
Jaylon Smith, who’s 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, played on Luers’ varsity basketball team for three seasons but decided to focus on football as a senior and said he hopes to add 10 to 15 pounds of muscle before moving to South Bend in June.
Although he was a running back in high school, he fell in love with playing defense as a freshman.
“I started at defense end and outside linebacker and my passion changed,” he said. “(Colleges) asked me if I wanted to play running back, but my heart has totally flipped to the defensive side. I’d rather initiate the hit than get hit every play.”
Smith said he is excited about heading to Notre Dame, which is ranked No. 1 heading into next month’s BCS championship game against Alabama
“Visiting there last March, they told me what they saw for the future, and it’s come true,” he said. “It’s an honor to have a chance to be a part of that.”
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com