The ex-Rebel featured in several features for Britain – The Advocate-Messenger Detail Explored

The ex-Rebel featured in several features for Britain – The Advocate-Messenger
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The former Rebel could excel in a number of positions for Great Britain

Posted at 11:03 Friday, September 23, 2022

Larry Vaught

Contributing columnist

It’s doubtful fans will see freshman Jackson Smith play Saturday when Kentucky hosts Northern Illinois. However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give him a chance just to get him ready for next season.

Kentucky’s special teams are in good shape this year with Chance Poore (kickoff), Colin Goodfellow (punter) and Matt Ruffolo (placekicker). Goodfellow and Ruffolo are graduate students, so they will surely be gone next season. Poore is a senior but has a fifth-year Covid option if he chooses.

Australian Wilson Berry was hired on scholarship to succeed Max Duffy last season but lost the job to walk-on Goodfellow. Berry is a redshirt freshman this year.

Smith is a true freshman at Boyle County High School. His father, Andy Smith, was an All-SEC player at Kentucky.

“I’m not sure anyone knows what I do best. He’s so good in all three phases of the stroke,” said Duffy, a former American player who has mentored the British freshman at times.

He was ranked No. 1 in the 2022 recruiting class by and was a three-time National Specialist of the Year and a three-time All-American (2019-21). He scored 72 to 78 more points his senior year, when he also went 7-for-9 on field goals. He put 68 kickoffs in the end zone and averaged 42.1 yards per punt with no return yards.

Jackson also started his senior season at linebacker for a state championship team and had 36 tackles, six for losses and an interception.

“Everybody loves to start, but that’s not important to him this year,” Smith said. “Just learn as much as you can. Use your first year to get as many practice reps as you can, get the right people to help you, and improve as much as you can. Work on universities, work on your body. Do all the little things that can help you grow as a person and then as a player/kicker.”

Duffy said he is a “star” in Boyle County and all around “good people” who understand winning and what it takes to win.

“It’s very impressive. Jackson is going to do really well,” Duffy said. “All he has to do is keep his head down and work.”

Where does Duffy think he could help Britain most in the coming year?

“I think field goals. Wilson Berry is there to stab and Chance could still be back for kickoffs,” Duffy said.

Kentucky doesn’t have a “special teams coach” — or at least a coach with that label. However, according to Duffy, quality control analyst Louie Matsakis is doing a “fantastic” job of preparing special teams.

“He is not known for the work he does. He comes up with all kinds of plans,” Duffy said. “He’s great at this job. He is always ahead of the curve of what people are doing. Our deck scheme was better than any other.

“People are very happy that he’s in charge (on special teams). As an analyst, he can only do certain things, but he’ll be great for Jackson because he’s very good at what he does.”



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