JUCO running back headed to Louisville

Powerful junior-college running back Jeremy Smith was a hot commodity late in the recruiting period, garnering interest from top schools all over the country. On Monday night, Smith opted to end the process and committed to the University of Louisville.

Fresno, Calif., City College bruising running back Jeremy Smith had so many calls in recent weeks his father, Craig Williams, couldn't keep track.

"It's been ringing a lot," Williams said of the phone.

One call the family is glad they took was from the University of Louisville. Williams said Smith had "followed Bobby Petrino's offense for quite a while," and wanted to take a closer look at what he was doing with the Cardinals.

Smith and his family drove to Louisville on Friday and then on Monday made the call to Petrino that he was going to sign with U of L.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Smith will sign on Wednesday - the day junior-college prospects can sign - and will enroll in January with the Cardinals.

"Jeremy is a back who loves to run down hill," Williams said. "It's an offense he likes and thinks he can fit into right away."

Smith had late offers from U of L, Vanderbilt, Southern Mississippi, Colorado and Notre Dame among others and also made an unofficial visit to Alabama.

But in the end, he'll sign with the Cardinals.

"The visit went great," Williams said. "He really liked the coaches and the players. He knew of coach Petrino from when he was at Arkansas."

Smith had a 3.0 grade-point average and is academically ready to go.

In high school, Smith attended Hammond, La., Magnet School before heading to Fresno City for one season. As a junior, Smith had one of the best games of the season nationally with 31 carries for 447 yards and seven touchdowns against Pearl River High.

As a senior, Smith was named a first-team all-district defensive end, linebacker, running back and kick returner. He carried 59 times for 418 yards and six TDs last season on offense. But his only offer was from Southeastern Louisiana and he went to JUCO.

This past season Smith finished with 205 carries for 1,735 yards and 17 touchdowns in 11 games for Fresno City. In a November 14 game against the College of the Sequoyias, Smith set a school record with 375 yards and five TDs. The record had previously been held by All-American and later NFL running back Maurice Morris.

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