Jaryd Jones-Smith, West Catholic’s standout offensive tackle, has given a verbal commitment to play his college football at the University of Pittsburgh. Jones-Smith, a 6-foot-7, 320-pound senior, is one of the city’s top high school football players. He’s looking forward to playing for the Panthers next season.
“It’s the right fit for me,” Jones-Smith said. “I feel it’s the best of both worlds football wise and academically. They have a really family atmosphere. It’s family oriented. The facilities are real nice. The city is real nice. The area is real nice. The coaching staff is great. The players are amazing.”
Pittsburgh will be playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference in the fall. The Panthers will face some great teams in their new conference such as Florida State, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia. Pittsburgh plays its home games at Heinz Field. Paul Chryst is the head coach of the Panthers.
Jones-Smith led the Burrs to a 7-4 record and a trip the Class AA city title game. West Catholic had one of the most explosive offenses in the Catholic League. Jones-Smith, an All-Catholic League player, was a big part of the team’s success with his blocking skills.
Brian Fluck, West Catholic head coach, has watched Jones-Smith gradually develop into a major Division I player over the years. Fluck believes Jones-Smith has a great deal of potential.
“His upside is so great,” Fluck said. “He’s so young and so raw right now. He’s 6-7 and 320. He’s an NFL body already. He just has to grow into that body. He has to get bigger and stronger in the offseason. For a big guy, he moves around. He’s a good pass blocker. He has good pass setting. I just think he’s going to get better and better.”
Jones-Smith will be playing in the Big 33 Football Classic in Hershey, Pa. on June 15. In addition, he will join Justin Moody, George Washington High’s All-Public League star at Pittsburgh. Moody recently gave an oral commitment to play for the Panthers.