Status: UK signee
Defensive end | 6-6 | 260
East Mississippi CC
Smith helped kick-start Mark Stoops’ recruiting momentum by committing to the new UK coach shortly after his arrival in Lexington.
Arguably Kentucky’s most highly touted recruit in the class of 2013, Smith is considered by ESPN to be the No. 11 overall junior-college player in the country. ESPN’s rates him as the No. 2 defensive end in the junior college ranks.
Smith had 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss and 47 total tackles as a sophomore for East Mississippi Community College, where he was coached by new UK assistant Jimmy Brumbaugh.
“Za’Darius has great size and is an ‘every down’ player — a physical player who can stop the run and also can rush the passer,” Stoops said. “We’re very happy to sign him.”
Smith as a second-team all-American last season and had offers from Florida State, Miami, Texas A&M, Texas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Auburn.
He will have two seasons of eligibility at Kentucky.
“Za’Darius is a humble person in that he is a fantastic athlete who knows he still has a lot of work to do. … He’s a very loyal, articulate young man who will be a fantastic spokesman for Kentucky football.”
- East Mississippi Coach Buddy Stephens