Smith planning to stay home for college?

DaMarcus Smith has always dreamed about playing for the Louisville Cardinals. A star 2011 quarterback from Seneca H.S., Smith is perhaps the state's top rising junior on the gridiron. He attended Louisville's spring game recently and spoke with about his interest in possibly staying home for college.

"I really liked it," DaMarcus Smith said of his spring game experience. "I was very impressed with the football team. It looks like we have some major improvements to this team. I enjoyed watching it. The defense looked very good and I think the offense will be ready for the season."

Smith went to two other Louisville practices this spring and keeps in frequent contact with the Cardinals. He knows several of the Louisville coaches and players well, including former Louisville high school standouts Jamal Lawson and Will Stein.

"I talked to the coaches and a couple of the players (after the spring game)," Smith said. "I've kind of built a relationship with one of the walk-on quarterbacks – Jamal Lawson. I met him when I went to spring practice and I was talking with the quarterbacks. I played with him when I was a freshman when I started varsity. We just kind of clicked after that."

Smith said he spoke with Louisville assistants Matt Wells and Greg Nord last Friday. He also talked with head coach Steve Kragthorpe.

"We keep in touch a lot and have built a relationship," Smith said of Wells, UofL's quarterback coach. "He was just joking around about the regular stuff. He asked me how I've been. The first question he always asks me is how I am doing in school. He knows I can do everything on the field. He just wants to make sure I'm doing everything in the classroom."

"Coach Kragthorpe asks me about my family a lot. He always asks about my mother because he's talked to her quite a bit. And he asks about my brothers."

Smith currently holds verbal offers from Louisville, Kentucky and Illinois and is also receiving interest from UCLA and Florida State.

"It'll be written as soon as I'm eligible to receive it September 1 of my junior year," Smith said of Louisville's formal offer. "That's when it will be official."

Smith says he'll make a decision toward the end of his junior year. Louisville is the heavy favorite to land a commitment. "I'm a simple guy. I don't really want all the hype and exposure and people harassing me about where I'm going to go," Smith said. "As far as Louisville, I've been a fan since as long as I can remember. All my life I've dreamed of suiting up in a Louisville uniform. I go to all the games – my grandmother has season tickets. Now my dream can actually come true. So I'm probably not going to pass up on the (opportunity)."

Smith said he plans to make an unofficial visit to Illinois this weekend for the Illini spring game. He said he plans to attend several Kentucky games this season. Smith also says he'll be a frequent visitor at UofL next season, too. "I'll definitely be at all the Louisville home games. I don't miss those," said Smith.

Smith has been invited to the Nike and Elite 11 camps this summer. He recently participated in a camp in Orlando where he performed well enough to receive an invitation to the Top Gun camp in Orlando this summer.

Considered one of the top prospects in the state's 2011 class, Smith threw for 3,471 yards and 31 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He also rushed for 450 yards and three scores. He was named to the All District Team and named 6A District 5 Player of the Year (the district also consists of Trinity, Ballard, and Eastern). Smith also earned honorable mention All-State honors.

"It's kind of easy to well as a quarterback in our offense because we spread the ball out a lot," said Smith. "I've been in the system since I was in the eighth grade so I pretty much know the whole system. I have a great line and wide receivers."

"He started out as an athlete and he's starting to become more of a quarterback," said Seneca offensive coordinator Paul Holien. "He thinks pass first (now) instead of run. Now he's learning coverages and becoming a quarterback. At a camp last year he threw the ball 73-yards in the air. He's got a cannon for an arm. The biggest thing he needs to work on is putting a little bit of touch on the ball. Sometimes he wants to throw it 95 miles an hour like Bret Farve does. He's been working on his touch and accuracy this off-season."

Besides starring on the gridiron, Smith also runs track, focusing on the 100 and 200, and will play basketball next season. He ran his best 100-time in a meet last week, running a 12.10 to finish sixth out of 30 contestants.

Though Smith still has two years left in high school, he wanted to pass along this message to the Louisville faithful.

"Just know that you'll probably be seeing me at Louisville," Smith said. "I'm looking forward to it."

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