Jalen Smith played high school football at Mankato West in Minnesota, where he grew up.
Why, in his opinion, would he abandon the state to participate in collegiate football?
He stated, “I believe that any kid who grows up playing sports in Minnesota would want to attend the University of Minnesota and play for the Gophers.” “I have always desired to do so. “How can you not be a fan of your home state’s college?”
Smith announced his acceptance of a complete scholarship to the University of Minnesota on social media on Friday. Since he cannot sign a letter of intent until December, Smith is pleased to conclude the recruiting process early.
“This relieves me of a great deal of stress.”
In addition to Eric Stenzel (2000) and Philip Nelson (2012), Smith is the third West football athlete to accept a scholarship offer from the Gophers.
Last season, Smith’s 45 receptions for 666 yards and eight touchdowns made him West’s leading receiver. Due to the talent in front of him on the West depth chart, he didn’t play much as a sophomore.
“Athletically, he was talented enough to play as a sophomore,” said West coach J.J. Helget. “Last year, he was a member of the junior varsity team, and he grew tremendously.
“He possesses an abundance of talent. This summer he has been lifting heavy weights, and he is beginning to bulk up. Now that he possesses a strong work ethic, he must acquire the nuances of college football.
Smith, who also plays cornerback for West, stated that he visited multiple Division I schools and received offers from Iowa State, North Dakota State, and Kent State.
In March, he attended a junior day at the University of Minnesota and has maintained contact with offensive coordinator and receivers coach Coach Matt Simon. Smith visited the campus unofficially and was extended an offer of employment last week.
“Obtaining a full scholarship was the first step,” he said, “so that my parents do not have to worry about my participation in college athletics.” It is near to home, and I’m comfortable there.
The Gophers coaches informed Helget that they were only going to sign two receivers, but Smith’s exercise and visit were so impressive that he is now the third.
This spring, when Smith began participating in track competitions, his recruitment received a significant boost. As a sophomore, he competed in relays, but his times were not fast enough to enter him in the open sprints.
This spring, he has run the 100-meter sprint in as little as 10.87 seconds, breaking the 11-second barrier several times.
“Many football players participate in track to improve their speed,” said Smith. I truly appreciate music. I delight in contending at the highest level.”
He now weighs 185 pounds, 10 pounds more than he did during the previous season and 25 pounds more than he did as a freshman. In preparation for his senior season, he will spend the summer in the weight room improving his quickness and strength.
“My primary objective is to win a state title,” he said. “Now that I am captain, I must become a stronger player and leader. “I want to work toward becoming a better version of myself.”