From the time he stepped to the microphone to be named as the new head coach of The University of Cincinnati, Brian Kelly has pledged to keep as much of the talent in Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio from leaving. Saturday two highly thought of prospects surprised Kelly in a special way.
"Kevin (Schloemer) and I knew we wanted to give our verbal commitments to Coach Kelly today. We spoke with Coach (Kerry) Coombs about it and told him we wanted to make it special."
While the teammates from Lakota West had things planned out for Kelly, they also gave the UC student body attending the Louisville game an extra treat.
"The students were screaming at all of us (recruits) when we walked along the court. They were telling us they wanted us to be Bearcats and after Coach Kelly received his coach of the year award he started to walk towards us and we took off our jackets and revealed we were now Bearcats. It was really cool. The students were clapping and bowing towards us. Coach Kelly gave me a big hug and then he said lets get this thing started. I'll never forget it."
For Smith the chance to stay home and be a Hometown Hero was something he couldn't pass up.
"When I put everything together it just made sense. I'm very close with my mother and having the chance to continue this was something I couldn't pass up. My mother and grandmother have played very big roles in my life and have supported me through it all. I can't really remember a game my mother didn't attend. They've both played a real big role in who I am and who I've become. I can't think of anything better that to be close to home so they can see me play and continue to grow as a person."
As for the football part of it Smith was quick to add.
"I want to be a key part in bringing other players into the program. I know we can win championships and the more players from this area that stay home the better we'll be."
While Saturday's Junior Day was for a lot of out of town kids, Smith said he's working to add another name to the class soon and down the road.
"I'm working hard to get Dominique Brown to commit also. We'll see how long he holds back before coming on board. Committing now was key to me. All these great kids in the Cincinnati area can make a difference. If all the top players from here stay here Cincinnati would be one of the elite programs in the country."
In the end being a Bearcat was something Smith had no problem envisioning.
"UC does a lot of things we do at Lakota West. They use the tight end coming off the line and getting down in a 3-point stand and like to throw the football."
While the recruiting process took a quick end for Smith there is still much work to be done and maybe even some other things to accomplish.
"A person from the Army All-American Game is coming Monday to talk with Jordan Hicks, Andrew Norwell and myself that I know of from this area about maybe playing in the game. That would be something nice to do."
With his family excited Alex also wanted to share his great news with his high school coach Larry Cox.
"I told Coach Cox and he was very happy about my choice. He's been a great help to me during my career and said he also could see me being a hometown hero."
Before ending our conversation we asked Alex if he had a message for Cincinnati fans. He had the following to say.
"I'd tell them to be excited about the future of Cincinnati Bearcats Football. I want them to get excited about it now. The recruiting Class of 2009 and 2010 along with the facilities Cincinnati has available now and in the future is something they should be excited about. Cincinnati is such a great football city and we really want them to get behind us. I promise, we're going to be something special and something they can really be proud of. We're going to win championships."
Let the work begin!
Hometown Draws Smith
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