FL CB Commits to Kentucky

The Wildcats were looking to add some of the final pieces to an already stellar recruiting class after its bowl victory over Clemson. Just three days prior, however, they added a very necessary addition just two weeks after his official visit

"I just got off the phone with Tai and he committed a couple days ago to Kentucky," Dunellon (Fla.) coach Frank Beasley said. "He is excited about the opportunity. He said he was really fired up watching the bowl game."

A relative unknown to the recruiting scene prior to his visit to Kentucky in December, Smith soon became a heavily sought commodity by the staff after a visit to Dunnellon (Fla.) high school by Jimmy Heggins resulted in a scholarship offer.

"They were recruiting one of our players - Juwan Franklin," said Taiedo, nicknamed "Tai" by his teammates. "Coach Heggins came down to scout Juwan and watch our game. A couple weeks later, one of their coaches called me and told me that they liked me and that they felt I could compare to Juwan."

The Wildcats would be just days away from offering the 6-foot-0, 175 pounder a scholarship.

"From there, everything happened so quick," Smith explained. "Coach Heggins came down a few weeks later and told me where I stood with them. He told me they were offering me a scholarship and that he wanted to get me up there for a visit."

Smith, who sports offers from Stanford, UCF, FIU, USF, Iowa State, Florida Atlantic, Maryland and Middle Tennessee, was beyond pleased by the extension. Arkansas and West Virginia had talked about offering, as well.

"No other SEC school had called me up to that point and that's where I wanted to play because the best play in the SEC," Smith said.

Smith is a relatively unknown prospect in the recruiting world, but he's been on the Florida high school athletics roadmap for years, thanks in part to his unbelievable athletic ability that helped propel him to a district championship in the long jump and triple jump as a junior at Lake Weir high school.

"He's a long kid," Dunnellon head coach Frank Beasley said. "He's got long arms and long legs. The boy can jump out of the gym. He's got a 38-inch vertical. Just a super athlete with tremendous upside."

The talented athlete took a chance when he transfered away as a senior to Dunnellon (Fla.) HS and Coach Beasley. Despite it being a much better football school, Taiedo had to work himself into favor with the coaching staff and recruitors to gain more attention to possibly earn a scholarship.

"My Dad lived out here and we thought about transferring my junior year, but I decided to stick it out at Lake Weir and give them one more chance," Smith explained. "The football program was deteriorating, they had just fired their head coach, so I left.

"Things worked out for the best," Smith concluded. "The season went good. We went 7-3 and I got a chance to make a name for myself."

A name for himself, indeed. The cornerback/wide receiver had 4 interceptions on the season, also helping on special teams where he returned kicks and punts.

"He's still a little green right now as far as the defensive backs position is concerned," Beasley explained. "I wish I had longer to work with him - I only had him one year, but we're glad he moved in with his Dad and came to our school. I think he'll make a great cover. He's got terrific change of direction skills and a huge upside."

Kentucky is hoping to land Smith's teammate, Juwan Franklin. Both Franklin and Smith are coached by Beasley, who's sister is married to former Wildcat, Mark Jacobs.


AllWildcats Top Stories