By LARRY VAUGHT
It’s not often any more that a Division I kicker or punter was a also a position player in high school but that’s exactly what Boyle County junior Jackson Smith plans to be.
He was offered a scholarship by Kentucky last week and is ranked as the No. 1 kicker/punter in the 2022 recruiting class by some.
“Jackson is a different kind of kid. He has a different mentality and is not afraid to stick his nose in there. He’s a tough kid and he’s got a lot stronger,” his father, Andy Smith, a former all-SEC punter at UK, said.
“Kids sometimes get so focused on getting offers rather than just enjoying playing football and helping a team and learning life lessons. Myself, I am perfectly fine with him playing other positions as well as kicking but I will admit it’s rare for a potential Division I kicker/punter to do that now in high school.”
The 5-11, 175-pound Smith could play either receiver or linebacker for new Boyle coach Justin Haddix — who has seen little of Jackson on the field in person because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
“Jackson is a football player. I have n to talked to coach Haddix specifically but knowing the roster they have back I think he will be needed at receiver and maybe outside linebacker,” Andy Smith said.
“I don’t know if he will be needed to go both ways but I know they will need him on the field more than just to kick. You can get hurt doing anything, so I hate to limit him to just kicking if he’s needed on the field. And knowing Jackson, he wants to play every down if they would let him.”
Kentucky just got a commitment in the 2021 recruiting class from Australian punter WILSON BERRY, who is already 23 years old. Chance Poore, the top kicker in the 2018 recruiting class, is a sophomore this year and would be a senior Smith’s first season at UK if he picked the Cats.
“I think they are looking at that Jackson could redshirt when Chance is a senior and then be the kicker,” Andy Smith said. “The punter would also be two years ahead of Jackson if Jackson redshirted. So I think UK is focused on him as a kicker first and then a punter after Berry graduates. But a lot could happen between now and then if that’s where Jackson decided to go.”
Jackson Smith was with his father in Richmond Friday when Andy Smith was one of the instructors at Ray Guy Football Kicking Camp Friday. Another instructor was UK All-American punter Max Duffy.
Today Jackson Smith is in Murfreesboro, Tenn., for a top prospect camp that is by invitation only. He is scheduled to kick today and then punt Sunday.