It’s been a busy past few days for local football athletes on the recruiting circuit for college football coaches and scouts.
While most of the top prospects in the area are participating in all-star game activities in Jackson and Cookeville this week, those and others have been talking to coaches from various colleges from near and far.
University School of Jackson junior offensive lineman Trey Smith talked with five coaches Monday from Clemson, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Ole Miss.
USJ athletic director Jody Evans said it’s a hectic but exciting time for the football program to see one of their own have that type of attention.
“It’s great to see our guy have so many coaches from top programs like these be interested in him, and it’s obviously good for him and the program to have those coaches get USJ on their mind like this,” Evans said. “And when we have this many in one day is hectic because Trey gets pulled out of class for each visit, but everybody seems to be OK with him being able to take advantage of these opportunities.”
Smith, who is a two-time Mr. Football Lineman of the Year finalist and won the award last week, has maintained since receiving his first offer from Ole Miss in the summer of 2014 he plans to be patient and make up his mind about committing to a program until he feels the time is right, which he doesn’t plan on doing any time in the near future.
Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was the coach to visit Smith on Monday after head coach Dan Mullen traveled to Jackson last week to talk to Smith and also talk to other athletes at USJ about possible walk-on opportunities.
Other athletes around West Tennessee made their commitments known earlier in the week.
Lexington kicker Ryan Courtright committed to UT Martin over the weekend. He’s been talking to other teams like Middle Tennessee State, Memphis and Kentucky, but UTM was the only school who actually made him a scholarship offer.
“I was at a combine at Memphis when one of UTM’s coaches came up behind me and said, ‘If you kick this one deep into the end zone I’ll have a scholarship offer for you,’” Courtright said. “I was more nervous in that moment than I think I’ve been for any kick during a game including overtime games.
“But I sent it into the back of the end zone, and I saw him walk over to my mom and start talking to her.”
Courtright said he officially received the offer earlier in the fall.
Another athlete announced his commitment Monday as Westview offensive lineman Dalton Turnbow tweeted his commitment to Bethel. He’d had offers to play for a couple schools up north, but he’d said during the recruitment process he liked the Wildcats’ coaches and its close proximity in McKenzie to where he’s grown up in Martin. Turnbow will play in the Blue-Gray Classic in Jacksonville, Fla., later this month.
Brandon Shields, 425-9751