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By LARRY VAUGHT
During his days at Boyle County High School and Western Kentucky University, Brandon Smith was a quarterback and set numerous records during his prep career. Now he’s the defensive coordinator at South Warren High School and has two players — defensive tackle Adrian Middleton and linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe.
Middleton has offers from Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana State, Western and Middle Tennessee. Iyiegbuniwe only has an offer from Western so far, but Smith expects more schools to soon offer Iyiegbuniwe.
Smith, the son of former Boyle County and UK linebackers coach Chuck Smith, says South Warren coach Mark Nelson has done an amazing job. “To have only played two years of varsity football and have two Division I players on the team says a lot about what kind of coach he is and what he expects of his players. I’m not sure if another school in the state currently has two D1 players,” Smith said.
The 6-4, 275-pound Middleton got a visit from UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown, who played for Chuck Smith, and defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh. They recorded video to show head coach Mark Stoops, who extended the offer to Middleton after he returned from the NFL draft.
Florida — and assistant coach Joker Phillips — has also shown interest in Middleton.
“I think he’s an elite player,” Smith said. “He is a big, strong kid that can move like a skilled kid. It is very hard to find players that can do that. He tremendous explosion off the ball and he is very football intelligent. He doesn’t just guess where the ball is going — he reads it.”
Smith offered these other insights on Middleton and Iyiegbuniwe.
Question: What kind of upside does Middleton have in college and what are you looking for him to improve this year?
Smith: “He has a huge upside. He is very young. He will play his entire senior year at 17 years old. He really hasn’t learned how to use what he has yet. Sometimes you see kids that peak out in high school, but that is not the case with him. His best football is ahead of him.”
Question: What kind of summer plans does he have as far as camps/combines to attend?
Smith: “All of this has hit suddenly in the last couple of weeks. He will have to sit down and figure out a plan of where he wants to visit this summer. He will probably do that in the next couple of weeks.”
Question: Do you expect even more schools to get involved in his recruiting?
Smith: “Yes. Defensive linemen are very hard to find. He is very good at what he does. There are several more SEC and Big 10 schools that have expressed a strong interest and are scheduled to visit him in school in the coming weeks.”
Question: What kind of person/student is he?
Smith: “He is a great kid. He has very likable personality. If you only knew him off the field you wouldn’t think he was capable of the things he does on it. He is always smiling and in a good mode.
Question: What makes you feel more offers will be coming for Iyiegbuniwe and what are his strengths/weaknesses?
Smith: “Joel is a solid 6-2, 210 pounds and can run. He is moving from safety to linebacker this year and that is where the majority of the schools are projecting him as. They don’t have film to go by, so he is going to be a camp guy. If they are not an offensive lineman/defensive lineman, most of the time they (college coaches) want to see you run and change direction. He does these things very well. He has only played football two years (basketball player). He has not even tipped the iceberg of what he’s capable of.”
Question: What kind of summer plans does he have?
Smith: “He has several camps he is planning to attend. Once again, he will have to sit down and plan out the stops he is going to make. I think that will come after all the schools come through and he decides which ones he is serious about.”