LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keontra Smith is Kentucky’s top commit in the Wildcats’ 2019 class by default — he’s the only one. But fast forward to National Signing Day 2019, and the defensive back from Florida may still be atop the class.
Smith is the 57th-ranked prospect and No. 5 safety in the 2019 class, according to 247Sports. The most recent top-100 Kentucky signee was offensive tackle Landon Young.
And while the 2018 recruiting cycle is still in full swing and 2019 projections are far from being finalized, Smith’s high school coach at Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood, Fla., said the top-100 hype around Smith is warranted.
“Oh man, he’s a dynamic player on both sides of the ball,” coach Dameon Jones told SEC Country on Wednesday. “He’s a freak athlete. Great kid, great character, just a tremendous player on both sides of the ball. You don’t see that often.”
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound prospect has great speed, his coach said.
“To be the size that he is and be able to move,” Jones said. “He went to a couple camps this summer and ran 4.3 and 4.4 defensively. To be able to get out of bed and run those types of times is amazing.”
Jones and Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran have formed a pipeline from Chaminade-Madonna to Lexington. Chris Whittaker and Josh Ali were signees in 2017. Davoan Hawkins, Marvin Alexander and Akeem Hayes are all Kentucky commits for 2018 from the south Florida school. Smith would be the sixth Chaminade-Madonna signee in three years if all commitments stick.
Jones said the three 2018 commitments are “locked in.” As for holding on to Smith, the highest-ranked of the bunch, for another year and a half?
“I don’t think it’s going to be hard for them to hang on,” Jones said. “He loved it up there. Of course, he’s going to go to other places and love it there, too, but he’s not that type of kid.”
Smith is in the beginning of his recruitment and holds 13 offers. Auburn, Oklahoma, Louisville, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Oregon and Wisconsin are among the suitors.
Kentucky gained an edge when Jones took several of his players to Lexington for a camp in early June. Smith announced his commitment soon after.
“I think it influenced him by seeing the campus and seeing the facilities,” Jones said. “I think that had a big part to do with it.”