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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 51 It's going to remain to be seen, because Smith and Jaylan Alexander both come in behind a sophomore class Purdue seems to have high hopes for, one that should give Purdue some athleticism. But you can never have enough of that particular attribute on defense these days and Smith would seem to fit that bill. Height: 6-3 Weight: 217 High School: Lakeland Hometown: Lakeland, Fla. Senior Stats: 85 tackles, 14 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, interception J ack Smith is a worker. During the fall at Lakeland High School in Florida, he was at school from about 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., then practiced until 6 before heading off to his job at Country Chicken and Fish. "He's basically supported himself," said Will Bahler, an assistant at Lakeland who handles the Dreadnaughts' recruiting. "We joke that he's the unofficial mayor of Polk County, of Lakeland. You're not go- ing to meet someone who doesn't know Jack Smith. He's a real outgoing kid, plays football, basketball and runs track." Purdue wants Smith to play linebacker, bringing him in for a visit the weekend before signing day, then seeing him sign Feb. 7. He did so over offers from Cincinnati and Western Kentucky after he'd been previously committed to Syracuse. "I think he'll develop very quickly once he gets into a program and he's lifting and training, eating properly," Coach Jeff Brohm said. "His competitive nature and the fact he loves sports definitely helped." Smith, who played last season at about 200 pounds, was up to 217 on his Purdue visit in early February, Bahler said. And had he been in the 220 range as a senior, perhaps the big boys in Florida, like Florida State, Florida and Miami, might have come calling. Smith was a three-year starter for Lakeland, playing on the strong-side. "Especially in high school, you play so many spreads, that Sam linebacker isn't really playing in the box," Bahler said. "He has a really high football IQ, understands that if this guy is coming out, this guy is coming in. He was smart enough to play in space at an early age. He's one of those (players) who if you tell him he can't do something, he's going to do it." The Purdue Fit Did You Know? Jack's given name is Ja'Quri- us. Jack Smith Linebacker "Smith has some impressive physical tools and showed that he can stand up to elite competition, as he was a standout at the Rivals Camp stop in Orlando last year. He'll need to be molded at the next level, but he's a high-po- tential prospect that could make waves late in his career." — Florida analyst Rob Cassidy take Action photo by

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