Kentucky didn't have to look hard to find a quarterback for its 2011 class. Instead, the class of 2011 quarterback found the Cats.
Max Smith, a senior at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, Calif., had only Division II offers after his 2009 season ended. He decided to send an e-mail and film to the UK football office, and offensive line coach Mike Summers eventually followed up and expressed interest.
Smith was in Lexington last weekend and committed to UK shortly after his visit. Smith will be grayshirted, which means he will delay enrollment until January and count toward the 2011 class.
"I've always been fascinated with SEC football, and Kentucky seemed like a good place with a lot of tradition," he said. "Plus their system really seemed to fit with the way I play."
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Smith has good size at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds and is a self-described drop-back passer. His personal coach is former Chicago Bears quarterback Erik Kramer. Smith had received interest from California, Arizona and Arizona State and said Sacramento State extended a scholarship offer when it found out UK had offered.
Smith was passed over in the recruiting process despite throwing for 2,450 yards and 22 touchdowns with just two interceptions as a senior.
"I didn't play my junior year, and my team went 3-7 this year," he said. "We gave up a lot of points and we just didn't win many games. I'm not holding any grudges, but I want to show people that, hey, you passed up on a kid who can play."
Smith is the fourth known UK commitment for 2011, joining Eastern athlete/tight end Jon Davis, Bryan Station offensive lineman Darrian Miller, and East St. Louis, Ill., defensive back Glen Faulkner.
With Mike Hart-line's eligibility expiring next fall, Smith would be able to partake in spring practice and join the three other scholarship quarterbacks who are expected to be on the roster: Morgan Newton, Ryan Mossakowski and Tyler Brause.
"A lot of people see grayshirting as a bad thing and would be disappointed," he said. "But I'm looking forward to staying out here and working with Coach Kramer and getting stronger and faster. It will really help me when I report in January. I'll be one step ahead of the other freshmen."