Former Shelbyville Central football standout Gary Smith III joined the NCAA football transfer portal at the end of this past season and recently signed with UCLA. Smith was highly recruited while …
Former Shelbyville Central football standout Gary Smith III joined the NCAA football transfer portal at the end of this past season and recently signed with UCLA.
Smith was highly recruited while playing for the Golden Eagles as a defensive and offensive lineman, but let it been known he preferred to plan on the defensive side of the ball at the next level and signed with the Duke Blue Devils where he played the past two season, starting over half the games his past season.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity that Duke gave me and I had a great experience there,” Smith said.
“I made the decision to leave due to a couple of circumstances. I knew there was a need for defensive tackles because a lot were going to the NFL draft so I just took a leap of faith and this is how God’s plan worked out.”
Long-time head coach David Cutcliffe and Duke mutually agreed to part ways and Smith said that his departure may have played a little into his decision, but was not the main reason he left.
Smith received offers from a large number of schools while in the transfer portal including Virginia, Virginia Tech, USC, TCU, Marshall, Western Kentucky, Minnesota, Memphis, Tulane, Eastern Kentucky and Liberty just to name a few.
All it took was his visit to UCLA for him to know what was the best fit for both his education and football career.
“My visit out there was a great experience. It’s a great atmosphere and really had everything I could ask for. They have a great rival game with USC. I really look forward to playing in that game along with all the other Pac-12 teams,” Smith said. “They told me that they were just a few pieces away from competing for a Pac-12 championship and I could be one of those missing pieces.”
Smith will complete his sophomore year after his spring semester at UCLA then will have three more years of eligibility, which includes an extra year due to COVID.
Chip Kelly is the head coach of the Bruins.
Smith excelled in the classroom as well as in the weight room and on the field as a four-year starter for Shelbyville Central.
He has been tabbed by many as one of the best, if not the best, to ever play for the Golden Eagles.
It’s been a long-time dream to play in the NFL and he is and will continue to work hard with hopes of turning that dream into a reality.
“I have a life-long dream of playing in the NFL and I still believe I have a shot of that the way things are going,” Smith said.