Greensboro's Smith commits to Kentucky
Tue. August 21, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Greensboro receiver JeVontey Smith verbally commited to the University of Kentucky (Photo by Andrew Carroll)
GREENSBORO | JeVontey Smith’s verbal commitment might not end phone calls from college recruiters, but the conversations could be a little shorter.
Smith, a 6-foot-2, 197-pound senior at Greensboro High School, plans to play football at the University of Kentucky. The commitment is nonbinding, and Smith can change his mind right up to national signing day in February.
In the meantime, Smith is planning to help his team on offense, defense and special teams. He said the only time he might be off the field is when the Raiders kick off. Greensboro coach Curtis Graves said Smith might not be part of the punting unit, but he’ll be returning punts and kickoffs.
"He’s one of those players that can put up big numbers," Graves said. "I expect him to be good wherever we put him on the field. He’s got his plate full."
Smith is heading into his fifth season with the Greensboro varsity football team, and he’s been a part of two AHSAA championships in basketball and two in outdoor track and field.
"This summer I was everywhere, all over the state, all over the U.S., trying to get offers," Smith said. "I went to Kentucky and finally got my offer, and it was a big weight off my shoulders. Now I can just focus on this season. We’re looking real good now. We should be real good."
Smith will line up at wide receiver on offense. He had 34 catches last season for 636 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterback Quante Brown returns and seems to have recovered from a shoulder injury that limited his playing time last season. Brown threw for 1,949 yards and 21 touchdowns and ran for five scores.
"I should be in good shape," said Smith, who expects to be a receiver at Kentucky. "We ran all summer, every day. All of us should be in shape. I know I need to get more aggressive on the field. I need to play how I’m going to play at Kentucky. Tennessee was interested in me, but they wanted me as a safety, not wide receiver.
"What it really comes down to is I’ve got to have the ball in my hands. When I have the ball, I always make plays. I can turn a 5-yard play into a 10-yard play. Our receivers, we mostly do the same thing, but mine come at the right time."
Smith had 77 tackles last season with two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. He broke up nine passes, recovered three fumbles and blocked a punt.
Graves said Smith could get a look at running back because Ahmad Bennett could be out four weeks with a broken kneecap.
"JeVontey created this opportunity for himself," Graves said. "He’s had that same mentality like David Reeves. He just works to get better."
Reeves, a former Greensboro player, is a redshirt freshman tight end at Duke University.
Graves said he was impressed by Smith’s energy.
"There’s no offseason for him," Graves said. "He goes football, straight to basketball, basketball straight to track, track back to spring football. And while he’s doing basketball and track, he’s working out for football. This summer he had a job, so he was going to camps, job and workouts. He worked out in the hot sun, doing some type of construction work. Sometimes I just told him to go home. He’s the epitome of hard work, and he deserves everything that’s come to him."
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.