VAUGHT: New UK player loves football

Ryan Smith had a simple explanation for why he was just leaving football practice Saturday when he answered his cell phone.

"Down here it is different. This is a football community and football country. We practice Saturdays. We go in, watch film, work out and run. But we all love it. We come in win or lose because we know it makes us better," said Smith.

The 6-2, 210-pound Smith, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, plays both quarterback and cornerback for Cordova (Ala.) High School, a two-time defending state champion that is 8-1 after a 44-6 win Friday that clinched another regional title.

"I do love football. I have been doing it for awhile. I got into it full-time when I moved here in the eighth grade. I used to play basketball because my old school was a basketball school. But since eighth grade, it has been all football for me and I love it," Smith said.

He tried to make that clear to the UK coaching staff when he committed. When he was asked where he wanted to play — and most projections have him at safety — he was ready with a quick answer.

"I could play different positions. They asked me where I could see myself coming in and playing. I just said I want to play where I can help. It doesn't matter if it is at wide receiver, running back, quarterback or safety. I wil play my role. I just want to be on the field and help my team. I am not hung up on any certain position. I just want to play," Smith said.

And he's loyal. Kentucky offered him a scholarship when he was a sophomore and Cordova went 15-0. That was his first offer and he never forgot the confidence UK coach Rich Brooks and defensive coordinator Steve Brown showed in him.

"It surprised me when they did offer. Around here people would tell you that you had the potential to play at the next level, but it didn't really sink in and I didn't know if I could believe them until Kentucky offered," Smith said. "It meant a lot to me that Kentucky wanted me then. It played a big role in my final decision. They stayed with me since I was a sophomore and I just believe they will put me in the right position to make my life better in the future."

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