Friday night appeared to be like any other night in the life of Jaylon Smith.
The Bishop Luers High School senior was at his school watching the Knights play city rival Snider on the basketball court – and, oh, yeah – he received the coveted No. 1 jersey as the recipient of the 2012 Indiana Mr. Football Award presented by The Indianapolis Star.
“It's wonderful,” Smith said calmly after a celebration at midcourt.
Bishop Luers Athletic Director Jim Huth ran the risk of delaying the boys game as he read a seemingly never-ending list of honors that Smith has received this year, but Smith took it all in stride.
“All of the awards that I've achieved,” Smith said, “hats off to God for blessing me. I really appreciate everything that I've received.”
Nothing seems to rattle Smith, whether it is receiving the state's highest football honor or even the thought of losing his future coach.
Smith will sign with Notre Dame on Wednesday, but last month it appeared as if Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly might bolt South Bend when he interviewed with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. Smith never was overly concerned about the situation.
“I wasn't nervous at all,” Smith said. “I was confident in our (recruiting class) sticking together.”
Through the week that Kelly's status was in limbo, Smith spoke with other Notre Dame recruits and with the exception of fellow linebacker Alex Anzalone, all of the previously committed Irish remained true to the Irish throughout the ordeal.
“The golden dome isn't going anywhere,” Smith said. “Notre Dame is still Notre Dame.”
When the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Smith committed to the Irish last summer, he spoke of the importance that the university devotes to academics, as well as the proximity to Fort Wayne. Now that the football program has returned to its previous glory, Smith remains as convinced as ever that he has made the correct decision.
“It's making a 40-year decision,” Smith said. “Everything that I've dreamed of, Notre Dame can provide that for me.”
Smith received 23 votes for the Indiana Mr. Football Award, outpacing Warren Central's Tim Kimbrough (11), Sam Schrader of Mishawaka (five) and seven others with three votes or fewer.
The two-way star (linebacker and running back) helped the Knights to four consecutive IHSAA Class 2A state championships and is the first Fort Wayne player to receive the honor.
He totaled 6,625 yards rushing and scored 66 times while helping the Knights to a 48-11 (two of the losses being forfeits due to administrative errors) record in his four seasons.
Bishop Luers announced that Smith's No. 9 jersey with the Knights will be retired.