SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WANE) – The hype surrounding Jaylon Smith this year is palpable. You can find the Bishop Luers grad on the Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, and Nagurski Award watch lists, on preseason all-american teams, and even on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
After the 2014 that Smith had it’s no surprise he’s expected to be the top defensive player for the Fighting Irish. Making the move to inside linebacker his sophomore season. Smith led the Irish with 112 tackles, becoming the first Irish player to record a 100+ tackle season since 2012. He was named Notre Dame’s Defensive Player of the Year and named to the AP’s second team All-American.
This year Smith is stepping into a leadership role with the linebacker corps. Coach Brian Kelly says Smith isn’t afraid to hold people accountable.
“I will take him side by side anywhere I go,” said Kelly at Tuesday’s Media Day. “I think our players emulate his work ethic and how he plays and practices every day. He’s one of the best players on the team and we think he’s one of the best players in the country.”
At Notre Dame’s Media Day on Tuesday, NewsChannel 15 caught up with Smith who says his main goal this year is to do whatever it takes to help the team win.
“For me it’s not about my performance. I just really want a national championship,” Smith said. “It’s all about the team and how I can make others better.”
Notre Dame opens up the season on September 5th hosting Texas.