MINERAL — Brandon Smith will leave for Penn State next month to begin his journey as a Division I college football player.
The Louisa County linebacker’s performance on the high school gridiron is still garnering accolades. On Thursday, Smith was named Gatorade Virginia State Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound linebacker joins former St Anne’s-Belfield standout Chris Long as the only Central Virginia player to win the prestigious award. Long won the award in 2003-04 season and went on to play collegiately at the University of Virginia and in the NFL. He has won two Super Bowls, one with the New England Patriots and another with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I am honored and blessed to be recognized for the Gatorade Player of the Year award,” Smith said. “I accept the award on behalf of my family, support system, Louisa Lions community, teammates and coaches. To be in the conversation with Chris Long to win this award in the area is an honor as well.”
Smith was nothing short of sensational for the Lions this season. He led the team with 135 tackles, 14 quarterback pressures and five sacks as Louisa County won the Jefferson District and reached the second round of the Class 4 Region B playoffs. He also forced nine fumbles and broke up three passes as he took home first-team, all-state honors.
Smith is ranked as the No. 14 recruit in the country in the Class of 2019 by 247Sports.com and has been selected to play in the 2019 Under Armour All-American Game next month in Florida.
Louisa County football coach Will Patrick is constantly amazed at Smith’s talent.
“Brandon Smith is a young man that any coach would love to have on their team,” Patrick said. “He is a leader, competitor and loves the game of football. I am proud to be his coach. Attaining this award is just proof of his hard work and football ability. He is very deserving of the award and to have him playing at Louisa County High School, his home, is proof of the legacy he will leave here. I have no doubt that he will continue to leave a legacy, both on and off the field.”
In the classroom, Smith maintained a 3.30 grade point average and was a fixture in the community. He served as an elementary school mentor and volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports programs.
Smith joins former C.D. Hylton running back and future Nittany Lion teammate Ricky Slade, Lamont Atkins (Lake Braddock), Wayne Davis (Lake Taylor), Noah Reimers (Tuscarora) and Andrew Brown (Oscar Smith) as the most recent winners of this award.
“To be recognized as a top player in the country is awesome, but to win the Gatorade Player of the Year in your home state is out of this world,” Louisa County athletic director George Stanley said. “I am thankful for the time that his coaches have put into him and for his teammates being there with him every step of the way. Brandon is one of the best players I’ve ever seen, and he is one of the hardest workers I’ve known. He is deserving of this honor. His parents have been great models in the community and have raised one great young man.”