Traditional temple

Jojoz wild: Smith chooses Temple

Jesuit High School running back Joquez Smith in Tampa, Fla., announced his commitment to Temple on Friday. (Photo: Andrew Ivins, 247Sports)

Florida High School Football’s Best Runner Last Season Joke Smith of Tampa Jesuit High School announced on Instagram on Friday that he was committed to Temple. Smith is the 11th high school prospect and second running back to commit to the Owls this draft round.

“I really connected with Coach Drayton, seeing his vision for me and how they want to use me,” Smith told OwlsDaily in an interview Thursday night, less than 24 hours before announcing his decision to the university.

He said he narrowed his list of choices to Temple, Buffalo and Maryland, all of which he had visited multiple times in the past four months. Before making an official visit to Temple in mid-June, Smith said he initially planned to make his decision in December, but then adjusted the schedule to mid-season or the end of the season. pre-season. The timeline has changed again over the past three weeks.

“It’s just when I visited that certain school, I felt like home,” he said. “I was like, ‘There’s no point in waiting if I know where I want to be.'”

Smith produced stunning numbers in his freshman year for a Jesuit-laden Tampa team that finished 15-0 on their way to the Florida 6A title. He rushed for 1,990 yards and scored 30 touchdowns, earning all-state honors. And he came in huge when it really mattered, rushing for 234 yards and three touchdowns in the state semifinals and 171 yards and a score in the title game.

Even before the Owls recruited him, Smith had a connection to North Broad Street. Tampa Jesuit Teammate Troy Bowles is the son of Temple Hall of Famer and coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Todd Bowles.

“Coach Todd is basically like my godfather,” Smith said. “I stayed with them for a bit during the quarantine. I stayed there all summer. So me and Coach Todd have a good connection. He told me a lot about the area (of the temple).

Smith reported 18 Division I scholarship offers dating back to his sophomore year. Maryland was one of the first schools to offer him. More recently, his deals have included Middle Tennessee and Florida A&M, which he included in a list of favorites he announced in June. In the end, it was Temple, Maryland and Buffalo.

“I’ve been to Maryland about three or four times,” he said. “Maryland is great. It’s also Big Ten, it’s also awesome. Coach Locks is a great man, a great coach.

His last trip was to Buffalo.

“I scaled that down when I got back from Buffalo,” Smith said. “When I got home, my parents and I talked about it and that’s when we decided.”

Smith is the second running back in Temple’s current recruiting class, although he believes he fills a more traditional role than the versatile back Kyle Williams of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania High School, who signed up two weeks ago.