By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky added a preferred walk-on for the 2017 football season when Mercer County running back Donald “D” Smith verbally committed to the Wildcats Friday.
He picked UK over Louisville after previously considering offers to play at Centre College and Georgetown College.
His father, Donald Sr., was a standout running back and then at Western Kentucky University. He also happens to be Louisville fan and noted how ironic it is that another former Harrodsburg star, Craig Yeast, is a UK fan but his son Russ is going to Louisville.
D Smith ran for 790 yards and 12 scores last season. He’s also a capable receiver — and special teams player.
Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and offensive line coach John Schlarman were the UK coaches who recruited D Smith. He caught their attention with the way he ran the 40-yard dash at a summer camp.
“They are only going to bring in five preferred walk-ons and he is one of them,” Smith’s father said. “He always wanted to try and play at the highest level.
“I really like coach Gran. He told me he thought D could play when he came to camp. They really liked a lot he did. He said when he watched him run on film, he learned how well he knows to run.”
The Mercer senior has increased his weight from 155 pounds to 170 in the last year. He has really been working to raise his weight by doing a lot of little things.”
Donald Smith Sr. said Louisville made a big push for his son recently.
“They put on the full-court press. Had us up to basketball games and really wanted him to come,” Smith Sr. said.
D Smith is an academic star, one reason he was intrigued by a chance to join the Centre College football program. He has a 3.97 grade-point average and made a 28 on his ACT.
“He gets that from his mother. Maybe he got his running skill from me, but not the academics,” Smith Sr. said