Junior college running back transfer Jeremy Smith wouldn't have been a member of the University of Louisville 2015 recruiting class if it weren't for some highlights that staff recruiting assistant Cort Dennison happened upon. Head coach Bobby Petrino and offensive coordinator Garrick McGee weren't seeking out a junior college back, but they to were convinced once they saw Smith's game tape.
A first-team all-district defensive end, linebacker, running back and kick returner as a senior at Hammond (La.) Magnet School, Smith dominated last season at Fresno City, rushing for 1,735 yards and 17 touchdowns on 205 carries.
Late in the recruiting cycle, the Cardinals staff was forced to work quickly. The best they could do was squeeze in a one-day visit for the Fresno City (Calif.) Community College prospect, a day prior to a scheduled weekend visit with Alabama. The hard work was rewarded when Smith contacted U of L a few days later and committed.
Petrino was impressed the quickness and toughness of the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Smith.
“He's the big back that you want,” Petrino said on signing day.
Smith was one of nine signees to enroll early and participate in spring practice, a factor in player development that Petrino described as “huge.”
His early arrival allowed him hands-on experience with running backs coach Kolby Smith, time to further grasp the offensive playbook and mesh with an already strong stable of backs in Brandon Radcliff and L.J. Scott.
His progress throughout spring drills was steady and impressive. He capped it off with 10 carries for 58 yards and one score in the annual Red-White Spring Game.
“Obviously, he's got some power,” Petrino said following the spring game. “He's got some good feet.”
With an increasing workload for both Radcliff and Scott, who combined for 944 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall, Smith's opportunities may seem more targeted more short yardage situations, but his ability to run through tacklers makes him a threat in any situation and a possible X-factor for the Cardinals backfield this fall.