E.A. Sports Today

Family legacy

Wellborn’s Smith follows his father’s footsteps in signing with Jacksonville State, but decision all his own

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jeff Smith tells a story about how during one of his first days as a Jacksonville State football player he and teammate Mike Allison drove around for what seemed like half a day looking for one of the main buildings on the campus.

Jett Smith shouldn’t have that problem.

All the times he’s been on campus, whether to watch and play games or make overnight or day trips to team and youth camps over the years has made him “pretty familiar” with where things are and how to get around once he gets there to continue the family legacy his father started some 30 years ago.

Smith, Wellborn’s Class 3A Lineman of the Year, is following his coach and father’s legacy at JSU after signing with the Gamecocks Wednesday morning.

“I thought it was the best fit for me,” he said. “I like everything about it. My dad played there, that’s a good thing. I think it’s big he played there, I’m going to play there. I think that’s sweet.”

Smith’s father, Wellborn coach Jeff Smith, was a lineman on the good JSU teams of the late ‘80s early ‘90s. His son’s choice of college was completely his own, but he did admit the process did bring back some pleasant memories.

“He just needed to see what he thought was the best for him and where he would enjoy living, going to school and, of course, playing,” the elder Smith said, noting the difficulty of the recruiting process this year because of COVID-19. “I tried not to say you need to do this or do that – I did not do that – but I will say this: When he decided he wanted to go to Jax State I was very proud.

“I’m proud of Jett for getting himself in this position to be able to do that. I’m more proud of that, to be able for that than him playing where I played.”

The younger Smith played quarterback and linebacker for two of the best Panthers teams in a generation. He signed with the Gamecocks as a safety. 

One of only four players in state history with 600 or more career tackles, he made 154 tackles this past season, caused four fumbles and blocked two punts. On offense, he rushed for 1,271 yards and 12 touchdowns and threw for a pair of scores.

“When I get there I’m going to work as hard as I can and play wherever they tell me to,” he said. “I want to get out there and play and have fun and work.”

Here is where some other players in Calhoun County signed/committed to play at the next level Wednesday:

Glentrell Bradford, Anniston – Atlanta Institute of Business
Jaden Chatman, White Plains – Birmingham Southern
Deveon Coffer, Anniston – Palmetto Prep (S.C.)
Kevontae Davis, Anniston – Faulkner
Jakari Foster, Piedmont – North Alabama
Taishun Hall – Birmingham Sports Academy
Kentrez Hunt, Anniston – Faulkner
Jaylon Logan, Alexandria – Point University
Jett Smith, Wellborn – Jacksonville State
Tahi Swink, Anniston – Birmingham Sports Academy
Carson Tyree, White Plains – Faulkner
Jake Tyree, White Plains – Faulkner
Tyrese Weathers, Anniston – Faulkner

White Plains twins Carson (L) and Jake Tyree signed with Faulkner University, part of a large class committing to the Eagles from Calhoun County.

Cover photo: Wellborn’s Jett Smith signs his NLI with Jacksonville State Wednesday morning.

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