FB: Fort Wayne Luers’ Smith named Mr. Football
December 7, 2012By E. Shawn Aylsworth of Hoosier Authority
By E. Shawn Aylsworth
Jaylon Smith – a starter on all four Fort Wayne Luers football teams that won Class 2A state championships the last four seasons – has been named the Indianapolis Star’s Indiana Mr. Football.
The 6’4”, 220-pound senior linebacker/running back received 23 votes from the Indiana Football Coaches Association panel to outdistance runner-up LB Tim Kimbrough of Warren Central (11), with Mishawaka quarterback Sam Schrader earning five votes and seven others netting three votes or less.
The Mr. Football honor follows nicely in the footsteps of the Butkus Award that Smith recently earned as the nation’s top high school linebacker.
Smith rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns in fifth-ranked Luers’ most recent state title tilt, a 40-28 upset of top-ranked Indianapolis Ritter Nov. 23. But his love for defense as a freshman really got him hooked.
“I started at defensive end and outside linebacker, and my passion changed," Smith told the Star. “(Colleges) asked me if I wanted to play running back, but my heart has totally flipped to the defensive side.
“I'd rather initiate the hit than get hit every play."
Smith, whose brother Rod was a star running back at Harding – the current Ohio State backup RB totaled 6,625 yards and 66 TDs for the Hawks – exudes a fantastic attitude as well, according to Luers coach Steve Keefer.
“He's willing to go out and work for it rather than having anything handed to him,” Keefer told the Star. “He understands what it means to work for something – that's why he is successful.”
Luers athletic director Jim Huth, who assumed AD duties when former coach/AD Matt Lindsay was fired during the season for a violation of school policies, appreciated the humility that the future Notre Dame start exhibited during the state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“My son and I were talking to some folks after practice and walked into the locker room,” Huth told the Star. “Jaylon was in there picking up pre-wrap tape up all over the floor.
“He didn't have to do that – nobody told him to do it. It just comes from a lifetime of being raised the right way.”
The list of Mr. Footballs
Here’s a look at every Mr. Football winner since the inception of the award in 1992:
2012: Jaylon Smith, Fort Wayne Luers
2011: Gunner Kiel, Columbus East
2010: Tre Roberson, Lawrence Central
2009: Daniel Wodicka, West Lafayette
2008: Morgan Newton, Carmel
2007: Paul McIntosh, Evansville Reitz
2006: Darren Evans, Warren Central
2005: Dexter Taylor, Warren Central
2004: Jason Werner, Roncalli
2003: Desmond Tardy, Warren Central
2002: Clayton Richard, McCutcheon
2001: James Banks, Ben Davis
2000: Otis Shannon, Indianapolis Cathedral
1999: Derrick Ellis, Indianapolis Arlington
1998: Rex Grossman, Bloomington South
1997: DuJuan Daniels, Indianapolis Chatard
1996: Israel Thompson, Martinsville
1995: Earl Haniford, Martinsville
1994: Josh Martini, East Central
1993: Bo Barzilauskas, Bloomington South
1992: Alex Smith, Franklin County