Senior Jacob Smith, a 6-6, 305-pound offensive lineman, endured a restless night akin to tiny tots awaiting Santa Claus before signing a national letter of intent to play at Brigham Young on Wednesday at Rosemount High School.
Awake since 1 a.m., Smith struggled to hide his emotions.
“My hands were shaking underneath the table because I was so excited,” Smith said. He was flanked by Irish teammates Ian Bass and Sam Willmott, both newly signed members of the South Dakota State football program.
Bass, a tackle, stood out alongside Smith, a guard, on the offensive line for two seasons.
“Bass and I did a lot in two years; we did a lot of damage on the line,” said Smith, a Star Tribune All-Metro second team selection.
Willmott, another offensive linemen, played more on defense this fall. He intercepted two passes and returned one for a touchdown. Bass also saw some action on defense, meaning the trio mixed it up in practice.
“As soon we were across from each other it was like, ‘It’s go time,’ ” Smith said. “We all raised our game and helped each other get to the level we’re at.”
Stout linemen are a Rosemount hallmark. Yet, this trio of captains stood apart.
“This type of ability in one class is very uncommon,” Irish coach Jeff Erdmann said.
Smith committed to BYU about 18 months ago, accepting an offer under unusual circumstances. He attended a camp at the Utah-based school and fractured his left ankle on the first day. He returned the second day with a cast on his leg and a crutch under each arm when his first collegiate offer came.
“It was devastating at first to get injured, but it turned out to be a great moment,” said Smith, who later garnered interest from Arkansas, Iowa State, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Oregon, Purdue, and Wisconsin.
Willmott said he and Bass knew of the other’s interest in the South Dakota State. But it wasn’t until a recent conversation during seventh-hour English class that they realized they would be college teammates.
“It happened to be on the same day that we called the coach to commit,” Bass said.
Wednesday was the first day of a new three-day early signing period for college football.