East Mississippi Community College defensive end Za’Darius, who is regarded as one of the nation’s top-rated junior college prospects, announced today at Greenville High School that he will sign with the University of Kentucky and become the second-official commitment of the Mark Stoops era at UK. The #1 JUCO defensive end prospect accounted for 66 tackles and 11 sacks in two seasons at East Mississippi Community College. During the 2012 JUCO season, he recorded 6.5 sacks and forced four fumbles on his way to being named to the National Junior College Football All-America Team. He was rated a 4-star prospect by every major scouting service, and is arguably the highest-rated defensive prospect to commit to UK since Micah Johnson.
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound sophomore boasted offers from Florida State, Texas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. This is huge news for the Cats, who graduated both of their starting defensive ends in Collins Ukwu and Taylor Wyndham.
Expect to see Smith as one of the starting DEs when the Cats head to Nashville to open their season against Western Kentucky. By the way, are you still wishing that Mitch Barnhart had signed Bobby Petrino to be the news head coach instead of Stoops? Me neither.
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