The additions of Jacob (No. 97 overall in the 2024 ESPN 300) and Jerod (No. 153 overall in 2024), a pair of four-star defensive linemen, give the Wildcats’ class an immediate boost.
Born in Lexington and beginning their prep careers at Somerset High School (Kentucky), the twin brothers played their sophomore and junior seasons for Loomis Chaffee School (Connecticut) before transferring to another school in Connecticut (Cheshire Academy) in January.
But the opportunity to come back home and play their senior year in Kentucky for Corbin High School and eventually for the Wildcats proved too much to pass up. “[Associate head] Coach [Vince] Marrow just started to chitchat with the boys and basically sold them on being the hometown hero,” the boys’ father, Jerod Smith Sr., told ESPN. “They’re the best kids in the state and that would allow them to have more success now and after college football for that reason.
“The boys really bought into that and not only did they buy into that, they love to be back home. This state means a lot to them.”
Currently unranked in ESPN’s latest team rankings, Kentucky lands two more ESPN 300 pledges in the Smith brothers, who join cornerback Terhyon Nichols (No. 297 overall in 2024).
Kentucky’s success on the trail has been evident in recent cycles: 34th overall in 2023, 15th in 2022, 39th in 2021 and 22nd in 2020.
Jerod was the first to announce for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines in April, and Jacob followed suit in mid-July.
“They just have a huge support group here,” Smith Sr. said of the Wildcats. “Kentucky was able to use that to get the boys to come. Because up until last week, Jerod was still wearing his Michigan gloves and his Michigan cleats.”
Now looking ahead to life in Lexington, both will add to a Wildcats’ defense that finished third in total defense (320.2 yards per game) and scoring defense (19.1 points per game) in the SEC last season. Off to a 2-0 start this season, the Wildcats host Akron on Saturday before beginning SEC play at Vanderbilt next week.
Michigan’s class, which is ranked 10th, now has 10 ESPN 300 prospects.