Scottsdale (Az.) Notre Dame Preparatory wide receiver Jake Smith’s high school playing days are now in the rearview, and the next time his suits up and steps foot on the football field, he’ll do so on the Forty Acres.
Prior to that point, it’s well worth the time to reflect upon the four-star talent’s storied senior season, which concluded with the speedster being honored as the National Gatorade Player of the Year.
Throughout his final 14-game stretch with Notre Dame Prep, which capped with a 60-7 state title loss to Peoria Centennial, Smith’s tremendous versatility was once again put on full display. Best described as a Swiss Army knife type of talent, Smith played a multitude of positions for Notre Dame Prep. In addition to his most commonly discussed roles at wide receiver and running back, Smith fielded kick returns and punt returns to the tune of 538 yards, handling punting duties, in which he averaged 40.3 yards per boot, and also played defensive back, compiling 20 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and two passes defended.
Smith’s bread and butter, however, was his ball-carrying and ball-catching ability, and he implemented each to considerable success as a senior. An explosive talent with great burst and tremendous speed in the open field, Smith collected 741 yards and 15 scores on 100 carries as a complementary option to junior running back Dominick Mastro.
Despite as impressive as Smith’s senior showing sounds on paper, though, it’s far more praiseworthy on film.
As evident by his film and his tremendous productivity throughout his high school tenure, Smith will arrive in Austin vying for immediate playing time in the slot alongside others such as fellow four-star signee Jordan Whittington and sophomore Joshua Moore as Texas aims to fill the void left behind by NFL-bound receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey.
However, the staff isn’t aiming to lock Smith into a single position given his expansive skill set.
“They want to use me in the backfield and also at receiver,” Smith previously told Sports360AZ of how Texas intends to utilize his skill set. “A lot of the backfield stuff will be jet sweeps and just trying to get me the ball to the outside, but mainly I’ll play slot receiver and I think that’s where I’ll fit best. I’ll also have my opportunities on the outside on one-on-ones, so I think they want to use me in a lot of different ways. Also, in the return game, I forgot about that, so they see me as a versatile player and they want to use me that way.”
Listed at 6’1, 189 pounds, Smith is ranked as the No. 89 player nationally and as the No. 12 wide receiver in the 2019 class.