Mississippi teammates visit Louisville

A trio of teammates from Pascagoula, Miss., made the trip to Louisville to visit the Cardinals program for Junior Day. Cardinal Authority has the latest on wide reciever Jaylen Smith, defensive end Keith Joseph Jr., and linebacker Randy Hogan visit for Junior Day

Among the more than 30 high school juniors that attended the University of Louisville's Junior Day on Saturday was a trio of teammates from Pascagoula, Miss., two of which currently hold scholarship offers from the Cardinals coaching staff.

Wide receiver Jaylen Smith, defensive end Keith Joseph Jr, and linebacker Randy Hogan made the trip north for a weekend visit in the Derby City. Before heading to a local Cheesecake Factory for dinner, the teammates visited with Cardinal Authority.

In addition to Louisville, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Smith also has collected six additional scholarship offers, including Cincinnati, Mississippi, Southern Mississippi and Temple.

Smith, who has also attended Junior Days at ULL and USM, is completely wide open in the recruiting process.

"I'm not leaning to one school and I'm not going to tell any schools any thing different, because it could end up being the school for me," Smith explained. "It all depends on how I get along with the coaches and how I feel about playing there."

His first experience at Louisville was a positive one. The visitors toured the program's facilities, watched the Cardinals scrimmage and visited with members of the coaching staff.

"It was pretty nice," Smith said. "It was really informative about the school, what they like to do and how they operate as a program. I saw in the scrimmage how their offense works and how they have a pro-style offense. I like how the fact that they let everyone come out and watch that because some schools like to keep that confidential, they don't want people to come out and see them play. I liked how they let us interact with the players on the sideline.

"I really liked talking to Coach Lamar and Coach Buck . They're really bright coaches and real nice guys and they really want the best for their players and it doesn't matter if we go to their school or another school, they just wants whats best for you and I really liked that about them."

Joseph, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound defensive end, holds offers from Arizona State, Cincinnati, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisville, Mississippi State and Southern Miss. As a junior, he recorded 67 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss and 5 sacks.

"I'm wide open," he told Cardinal Authority. "I don't want to treat anyone different and I think there will be more schools that come after me following the spring, so I don't want to be different for any one. I just want to explore the recruiting process because I know it's hard. I try to keep it neutral as I visit different schools.

"It would be nice to stay home closer to family, but if an out of state school offers me and I make that connection with, then that could be the one for me."

Like Smith, Joseph was also impressed during his time at Louisville's Junior Day.

"It was great," he said. "I enjoyed the facilities, they were nice. The coaches really showed respect and I liked the connection that we had with them. It was a great atmosphere. All the other coaches that I talked with were nice. I felt at home. I enjoyed it."

Hogan totaled more than 80 tackles playing linebacker last season. He's also made additional Junior Day visits, with stops at Lafayette and Southern Miss.

"I liked the stadium and how the players interacted with the players," he said on Friday evening.

The U of L coaches invited him to return for the programs camp in June.

"That's what my plans are," Hogan said.

With so much talent returning from a 10-2 team last season, Pascagoula is in position for a big run this fall.

"I think we are going to be pretty good this year," Hogan said. "We should considered as competitors for the state championship."

In doing so they will be representing that alma mater of one of U of L's assistant coaches. Wide receivers coach Terrell Buckley was one of the nation's best at Pascagoula before moving on to standout careers at Florida State and in the NFL.

"It's really nice that we have people that have done something out of my community and my city," Smith said. "That's really cool."

All three anticipate returning to Louisville in June to participate in the program's camps.

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