Jake Smith Notre Dame Prep
photo credit: Mike Harvey,Peak Image Photo

Notre Dame Prep senior Jake Smith truly does it all. He plays running back, he lines up as a receiver, he plays defense, he returns kicks and punts and he’s even the team’s punter.

Not only that, but Smith does it all well. And he’s off to an “absolutely remarkable” start to the 2018 season, as Notre Dame Prep coach George Prelock puts it.

Notre Dame Prep won its first three games of the year against Fairfax, Sunnyslope and Gilbert, and Smith carried a heavy load during the 3-0 start.

Smith had 11 carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns, while also totaling five receptions for 130 yards and three touchdowns against Fairfax. Then, he had 16 carries for 237 yards and two touchdowns, along with eight receptions for 117 yards and three touchdowns and a 75-yard kick return touchdown against Sunnyslope.

Last week, Smith scored his 12th touchdown of the season in the win over Gilbert. He now has 649 total yards (358 rushing and 291 receiving) this season.

“It makes my job a lot easier, because he’s such a talent,” Prelock said. “His versatility is what makes him so talented and what makes him kind of difficult to prepare for, because you just don’t know where he’s going to end up on the field. We try to change it up and we try to put him in the position where he can best help the team.”

As for Smith, he keeps his approach simple.

“I’m just going out there and playing my game and trying to help the team win,” Smith said.

Smith started his career as solely a running back on offense, but he later moved into a receiver role as well, which he called a “smooth transition.”

New call-to-actionSmith certainly made it look smooth last year, when he had 1,135 rushing yards, 1,055 receiving yards and 28 total touchdowns.

That performance helped boost Smith’s stock across the nation. He is a 4-star recruit who ranks No. 2 among Arizona players in the 247sports composite rankings for the Class of 2019.

On June 3, Smith made his college decision, committing to Texas. He had many offers, including one from USC, which joined Texas when he cut his choices to two. But it was the visit to the Longhorns’ spring game in April that made Smith’s decision easy.

“It was really just eye-opening for me,” Smith said. “I saw it as a complete package as a place where I can get a great education, I can go in and play as soon as possible. I love the coaches there. …

“I love the city of Austin, so it’s really just the complete package for me.”

But before Smith leaves for Texas next fall, he has unfinished business to take care of this season. Last year, Notre Dame Prep won 13 consecutive games before losing to Centennial in the 5A Conference state championship game.

How motivated is Smith to get back to the 5A state final?

“More motivated than ever,” Smith said. “Ever since we lost that state championship last year, it’s been on my mind. All I can think about is getting back to that point and winning it.”

Notre Dame Prep is certainly off to a good start in reaching that goal. Fans can watch Smith and the Saints on YurView and YurView.com when they play Apollo this Friday.