University of Miami flips 4-star recruit on Mother's Day - 'special for my mom'


The University of Miami was able to flip 4-star football recruit Keontra Smith from the University of Kentucky on Sunday — and it wasn’t a coincidence that he made the announcement on Mother’s Day.

“I chose to do it today because I want to be special for my mom,” he told 247 Sports. “I want to stay home for her.”

Smith, rated as the No. 13 safety and 226th best player overall in the Class of 2019 by ESPN, is from Hollywood, Florida, and graduated from Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School.

As a Hurricane, he’ll be playing about 10 miles from home at Hard Rock Stadium. “It’s close to my family,” Smith said.

He also posted a Mother’s Day tribute on Twitter.

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But he made it clear distance from his mother wasn’t the only factor in his decision. Smith said he grew up a fan of the U and hoped to play there someday.

“All throughout my childhood it was a dream to just play at Miami,” he said. “It’s a big school where big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games.”

The Hurricanes have produced two of the greatest safeties to ever play the game in Ed Reed and Sean Taylor.

Last season, the team introduced the “Turnover Chain” to provide extra motivation for defenders to get interceptions and fumbles. It was a big hit with players and fans, and Smith said he looks forward to having it placed around his neck.

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“That Turnover Chain is so inspiring,” he said. “I can’t wait to wear it.”

According to 247 Sports, Smith, who is 5 feet 11 and 195 pounds, had 108 tackles and an interception last season for Chaminade-Madonna, which won Florida’s Class 3A state title.

In addition to Miami, he has received offers from Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma and Penn State, among others.

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Miami’s Class of 2019 is ranked No. 4 in the country in 247 Sports’ Composite Rankings, and Smith is the only defensive back in the group so far.

He hopes to get on the field and have an impact as a freshman.

“I’m trying to come in and win right away,” Smith said.

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Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He has worked as an editor or reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years.
Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He was born in Baltimore and grew up in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Miami (he dreams of wearing the turnover chain) and has worked as an editor and reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years. Todd started at The Miami News (defunct) and went on to work at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times, The Baltimore Sun and Space News before joining Liftable Media in 2016. He and his beautiful wife have two amazing daughters and a very old Beagle.
Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami
Phoenix, Arizona
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