Adding Smith boosts UK's 2022 class

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Joseph Russell, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.
·3 min read
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Apr. 9—The University of Kentucky's 2022 recruiting class is starting to take shape.

Boosted by the commitment of Boyle County junior Jackson Smith on Thursday, the Wildcats now have five commits for 2022. Smith, rated the nation's only five-star kicker/punter by ProKicker.com, joins four-star offensive lineman Grant Bingham from Johnson Central, four-star athlete Jeremiah Caldwell from Belleville, Michigan, three-star athlete Treyveon Longmire from Corbin and three-star cornerback Andre Stewart from Snellville, Georgia.

This past high school season, Smith led the state when he connected on 54-of-58 extra-point tries (93.1%), along with a 4-of-6 mark on field-goal attempts (66.7%). His 23-yard field goal in overtime lifted Boyle County to a 31-28 victory over Franklin County in the KHSAA Class 4-A state championship game, sealing a perfect 11-0 mark for the Rebels.

Among Smith's other career highlights is a 51-yard field goal he made as an eighth-grader in Boyle County Middle School's state championship game against Corbin in 2017.

Last season's KHSAA state title victory came at Kroger Field in Lexington, where Smith announced he'd be playing college ball during an appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio.

"Their coaching staff and everything about it just stands out," Smith told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "All the players there, it's like one big family. The coaches really care about the players. The facilities are unlike any other. I just feel like it's the right fit for me."

Smith is the son of former UK punter Andy Smith, who earned All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1999.

Along with Smith, the Wildcats secured a recent commitment from Bingham, a 6-foot-6, 302-pound offensive tackle who also had offers from Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Stanford, among others.

Bingham is rated a top-40 offensive tackle by both 247Sports and Rivals after guiding Johnson Central to a 10-1 record and a trip to the KHSAA Class 4-A playoff semifinals.

"Powerful player on film, which is backed up by his weight room numbers, which are excellent," 247Sports recruiting analyst Allen Trieu said of Bingham. "When asked to get out and make blocks and space, he shows he can do it and does it with good hustle and play speed.

"Strong, hard-working, high-floor prospect."

Another recent commit, Longmire, is a 6-2, 170-pounder who caught 21 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns, along with 18 tackles on defense, this past season.

He helped Corbin go 8-2 and reach the quarterfinals of the KHSAA Class 4-A playoffs before falling to Johnson Central. Longmire, rated a top-40 athlete by 247Sports and Rivals, committed to the Cats on March 26, with additional offers from Arkansas, Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Tennessee, among others.

Longmire's commitment came less than two weeks after Stewart, a 6-foot, 169-pound cornerback, picked the Cats. The Snellville native is rated the nation's 37th-best cornerback by 247Sports but is ranked No. 56 by Rivals. The Brookwood High School junior was previously committed to Auburn for more than a year before reopening his recruitment in January — spurning offers from Florida, Indiana, LSU, Miami, Oregon, Penn State and Tennessee in the process.

Caldwell, the Cats' first commitment for 2022, is a 6-3, 170-pounder who played both wide receiver and cornerback for Belleville High School in Michigan. He committed to UK on Jan. 23, with other offers from Central Michigan, Iowa State, Michigan State and Toledo. Caldwell is rated the 24th-best athlete in the country by both 247Sports and Rivals.