Notre Dame Prep senior Jake Smith has been named the Gatorade Arizona Football Player of the Year on Thursday, and is now among three finalists for the national award.
Smith played a vital role in the success of the Saints the past two seasons, leading Notre Dame Prep to two consecutive state title appearances -- both ended in a loss to West Valley power Centennial.
The senior finished this past season with 64 receptions for 1,112 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also rushed for 741 yards and 15 more scores.
Smith joins the company of former Perry quarterback Brock Purdy, former Higley running back Draycen Hall, former Paradise Valley quarterback Daniel Bridge-Gadd, former Saguaro athlete and current Arizona Cardinal wideout Christian Kirk, and former Saguaro quarterback Luke Rubenzer as award recipients from Arizona.
Along with the recognition for his success both on and off the field, Smith has the opportunity to award any organization of his choice a $1,000 grant as part of Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” campaign.
Smith will continue his playing career at the University of Texas in the fall. Smith committed to the Longhorns last summer.
The senior will also have the chance to represent Notre Dame Prep on a national stage, as he was invited to compete in the 2019 Under Armour All-American Game taking place on Jan. 3 in Orlando, Fla. The game annually features some of the top prep football players in the nation.
Along with Smith, The Dunham School’s Derek Stingley Jr. (La.) and St. John Bosco’s DJ Uiagalelei were also nominated for the 2018-19 Gatorade National Player of the Year Award.
The winner will be announced later this month.