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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
U.S. Army Capt. Chance Wirey presents Bishop Luers’ Jaylon Smith with his U.S. Army All-American jersey Friday.

Luers’ star Smith takes honor in stride

– Bishop Luers linebacker Jaylon Smith was just like any other student Friday afternoon, shooting baskets before a pep rally in the school’s gym.

But Smith was front and center as he accepted his formal invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, cementing Notre Dame’s five-star recruit as one of the best high school players in the country.

“I’m a very humble guy, so it doesn’t really matter,” Smith said of being the center of attention for about a half hour during the homecoming pep rally. “It is good to kind of get noticed, but you have to remind yourself there is always room for improvement.”

Smith was accompanied by family members and interim coach Steve Keefer at the ceremony. Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston, who was Smith’s lead recruiter, was also at the event.

He also kept his former coach Matt Lindsay, who was fired for having inappropriate videos on his computer at work, in his thoughts.

“He was a great coach for me,” Smith said. “He was the best coach to me. I really love him. I will definitely be praying for him, and I hope to see him in the future.”

The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder is Luers’ first Army All-American and is the first Fort Wayne player to be invited to the Jan. 5 game in San Antonio’s Alamodome since Bishop Dwenger’s John Goodman. Goodman, a fifth-year receiver at Notre Dame, played in the 2008 game.

“It’s just really going out there and really holding it down for Indiana,” Smith said.

“I believe I’m the only one going there, I’m not sure. I will definitely be ready and be prepared and be ready to go.”

tkrausz@jg.net

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