Family ties help flip Smith twins to UK

Published 3:57 pm Friday, September 22, 2023


Contributing columnist

Jerod Smith did not care where his twin sons Jerod and Jacob decided to play college football.

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“I want them to go wherever they feel will do the best for them long term and give them the best opportunity to get themselves to the next level (NFL). They are playing to make the next level and also to proceed in life,” Smith Sr. said.

They are both ranked among the nation’s top 250 players and each amassed about 30 scholarship offers, including some of the country’s most prestigious football programs. They verbally committed to Michigan but that changed last week after the twins helped Corbin beat state power Frederick Douglass 6-0.

Jacob, a 6-5, 230-pound edge rusher, is ranked 239th overall in the 2024 recruiting ranking by 247Sports Composite, and Jerod, a 6-3, 265-pound defensive lineman, is ranked 224th.

“I personally did not care where they went but I am extremely happy it is home,” the players’ father said. “I love that the boys will be at home where their grandmothers and other family members can watch them play on Saturdays.”

They played at Somerset High School in 2019 and 2020 before playing in Connecticut in 2021 and 2022. They came back to Kentucky in early summer.

The father said his sons were happy with their commitment to Michigan and stayed in touch with Wolverines coaches.

“They really were not talking to Kentucky when they moved. Then they (UK coaches) invited them to a game and I told them to go, but also said when you are committed to another school you really should not be talking to other schools. But they went and enjoyed talking with (defensive coordinator) Brad White and (recruiting coordinator) Vince Marrow,” the father said.

“They enjoyed being back home. They go to Somerset all the time on weekends. It’s kind of like they never left. The fact they can be home playing college football was really exciting for them.”

Jerod Smith Sr. knows social media will not be kind in all instances to his sons’ decision to flip to Kentucky.

“I do know it will be kind of hard when people on social media jump in on it. But other schools thought they could get the boys to flip, too, and I know Michigan is heartbroken,” the father said. “I told the boys to stay off social media. I got my wife off social media because she really gets caught up in it. I told them all nobody’s comments matter except for the coach you are going to play for. Not my comments, not my wife’s, not any reporter’s.”

Their childhood friend, Guy Bailey, transferred from Somerset to Corbin this year and is the Redounds’ starting running back. He’s got a preferred walk-on offer at UK.

“It’s like they are back with a family member. Guy wants to go to Kentucky and they want to be able to play with him again at the next level,” Jerod Smith Sr. said. “They are already talking about when they will be able to move off campus and live together.

“Jerod is like a big teddy bear/crybaby. He can get going sometimes and won’t want to listen to me. But then (Bailey’s mother) Charlie (Crawford) will be like, ‘Stop.’ And he does. When Charlie says jump, he says how high. That’s how close they all are.”

The father is also glad his sons will get to listen to White, who was at the Frederick Douglass game along with Marrow.

“I am a very huge fan of coach White. From the beginning of the process, he’s been the main guy. He’s a nice guy and smiles as much as I do,” the father said. “People who smile a lot are just natural people and I know he will do what is best for the boys. I don’t see any way he causes any harm for them with his knowledge and he’ll provide great techniques for the boys to use on Saturdays (in games).”