Western the 'right fit' for Brandon Smith

December 10, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Because Western Kentucky has an offense that requires a quarterback to be able to pass and run, Brandon Smith has decided that's where he wants to play his college football.

"They run an offense that I fit into," said Smith, a three-year starter at quarterback for Boyle County. "The quarterback has to run and pass. That is what I am best at."

He threw for 8,796 yards and 116 touchdowns at Boyle by completing 547 of 922 passes during his career. He ran for 2,420 yards and 43 touchdowns and finished his career with 11,261 yards of total offense, two state championships and a 40-5 record.

"It does take some pressure off. I am happy to get decision over with and happy with the decision I made," Smith said.


Brandon Smith told Western coaches of his decision during their in-home visit with him Wednesday night.

"I just thought it was the right fit for me. I like the people there. They are my type of people," he said.

"I am really thrilled for him," said his father, Boyle coach Chuck Smith. "He put a lot of thought into this. He made some unofficial visits during the season. He liked both Eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky, but he just felt Western Kentucky was the best overall fit for him.

"The most important thing is that Brandon is happy. This takes a lot of pressure off him. He's been getting a lot of phone calls. Villanova was about ready to offer. UMass (Massachusetts) was looking like it was going to offer. But he just felt good about Western."

Sophomore Justin Haddix, a former all-state quarterback at Breathitt County, has started the last two seasons for Western.

"He can learn a lot by watching him play and studying what he does," Chuck Smith said.

Brandon Smith says he has not discussed with Western coach David Elson whether he will be redshirted even though the Hilltoppers had only a true freshman backing up Haddix this season when they lost in the first round of the Division I-AA playoffs.

"I have thought about redshirting," Brandon Smith said. "I would not be opposed to being redshirted. It would be a good situation because Justin is a great quarterback. It would be good to learn under him, but I also like to compete and you never know what will happen."

He wanted to stay at quarterback

Smith said while some have speculated he might play another position in college, he always wanted to stay at quarterback.

"I want to play quarterback at the next level. They needed a quarterback. That is what I would be best at. If ever came up (about playing another position), I would do what needed to be done. But I don't think that will be the case," Brandon Smith said.

He'll join former Boyle teammate Brad Cloud, a walk-on freshman, at Western. Former Lincoln County standout Brandon Smith is also at Western and has been a two-year starter at linebacker.

"I have been thinking about this a lot. I thought it would take a lot for me to change my mind, so I made my commitment," Brandon Smith said. "This takes some stress off and will make it easier for me to enjoy basketball season."

Smith was a finalist for Kentucky's Mr. Football and a second-team pick on the Associated Press All-State team. However, he was named the Kentucky News Network Roy Kidd Player of the Year in voting by the state's coaches and will be in Louisville tonight to accept the Frank Camp Award presented by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation as the state's best high school player. Oklahoma quarterback Jason White, last year's Heisman Trophy winner, will be at the same ceremony.

"It should be a special ceremony," Brandon Smith said. "I really don't know a lot about it except that Jason White is supposed to be there. It will be interesting to see him, and hopefully I'll get to meet him because you don't get many chances to see a Heisman winner."

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