Rock Solid

Verbal commitments are made to be broken, just not DaMarcus Smith's to Louisville. The Cardinals four-star 2011 quarterback commit attended UofL's first spring practice Wednesday and spoke at length with InsideTheVille.com Thursday about Charlie Strong's program.

Verbal commitments are made to be broken, except DaMarcus Smith's to Louisville.

Smith, a four-star 2011 quarterback from Louisville (KY) Seneca, has the distinction of being the very first player to commit to Louisville coach Charlie Strong. Smith committed to Strong the day after he took over at Louisville and his commitment remains rock solid.

"It's official [I'm going to Louisville]. I'm not going to play around or keep anybody wondering about where I'm going to go," Smith told InsideTheVille.com. "I've known where I've wanted to go since the first day of high school. I knew right then I wanted to go to UofL and be the quarterback. That's been my dream since I've been playing football. I grew up going to all the games and I'm going to take advantage of it now that I have a shot at doing it."

Smith was in attendance for Strong's first spring practice at Louisville on Wednesday afternoon. He paid close attention to Mike Sanford's offense and palled around with Strong following practice.

"I think it was pretty intense and I like the atmosphere around there already. I can see they are going to respond well to Coach Strong," said Smith. "I stuck around and got to really see the offense and get an early start on things."

Since Strong's arrival at Louisville, Smith has developed a close relationship with the Cardinals head coach.

"He's a legit guy," Smith said. "At first I thought it was probably all just publicity about how good of a guy he is but I'm a genuine guy and I can just tell about genuine people and I feel that every time I'm around him."

Smith brought several family members with him to practice Wednesday, including his grandmother, great grandmother, and aunt. "They're all big-time UofL fans," Smith said. Talk about family pressure to stay home and play for the Cardinals?

Smith is one of five local 2011 commitments for Strong's program. Louisville's new coach has placed strong emphasis on keeping local talent at home, an area that former coach Steve Kragthorpe didn't succeed.

"I really think that's going to help out the [program] as far as the football team and with the fans," Smith said. "There's nothing like going to see hometown players when you're a fan. I remember being a fan myself and wanting to see Mike Bush and all the players from Louisville that were on the team. I think it's really important to get the recruits to stay here. For the past couple of years all the good recruits ended up at other schools. I think [Strong] is going to be pretty successful in getting them."

We'll call Smith the leader of the group. Since giving Strong his first commitment, local prospects DeVante Parker [Ballard] and Fern Creek's Jerrell Moore, Jamon Brown and Jalen Harrington have followed suit with commitments to the Cardinals.

"I actually grew up with Jerrell Moore, we played on the same AAU basketball team when we was younger, and I go to church with Jamon Brown," Smith said. "I think we're all on the same page. We want to really make a change around here and help turn this program around. We all have the mindset that we want to be the face of the [program]. It's just something that we've talked about when we were younger and now we're really going to do it."

Smith, who runs the spread offense in high school, thinks he's a natural fit in Sanford's spread attack at UofL.

"I can tell I'm going to like the offense," Smith said. "I like the formations they use and the spread fits my style. That's the offense I'm pretty much comfortable in since we run that at Seneca."

Smith missed his junior season because of an ACL knee injury that required surgery. He worked hard to get back on the field for Seneca's spring practice this month and finished up last week. Smith said he's essentially through rehabilitating the knee, though he still makes efforts to regain his elusiveness.

"It feels better than it's ever felt," Smith said. Spring practice went real well. I underestimated myself. I thought I'd be rusty but I picked up where I left off. I can still throw the ball with a lot of velocity and I still feel really loose when I'm throwing and still pretty accurate when I make throws. The only thing I've got to work on is to get my speed back up. That's what I'll be doing a lot of this spring, running around."

Smith still hears from several BCS programs, including Oregon, Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama, and Kentucky. Those programs want him to attend their camps. Smith plans to attend the Elite 11 quarterback camp, the Nike Training camp, and an Under Armor combine, in addition to attending several "college camps."

"I'm still going to attend camps but it's not to get offers, though I know I'll probably gets some offers," said Smith. "I'm really just going to attend camps to get my name back out there and rankings and stuff. I'm really going to compete and try to get a Top 5 position in the nation as a quarterback. I'll have my shot at the Elite 11."

Smith ran a 4.64 forty as a sophomore before suffering his knee injury. He said the injury has really slowed him down and his main focus this spring is getting his speed back to par. Smith says he hopes to run at least a 4.5 forty.


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