Former University of Tennessee and Ooltewah High School football star Jacques Smith will play in the inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl game Saturday in Charleston, S.C.
Smith, a prep All-American with the Owls who just wrapped up his senior year with the Vols, is one of six Tennessee players on National roster for the game to be played at Hagood Stadium on The Citadel campus at 2 p.m.
Other Vols on the National roster are running back Rajion Neal, offensive lineman Alex Bullard, linebacker Dontavis Sapp, defensive lineman Maurice Couch and place-kicker Michael Palardy.
The Nationals will take on the American squad in a game pitting draft-eligible college football players hoping to either solidify their NFL draft status or catch the eye of the many NFL scouts expected to be in attendance.
The game honors Medal of Honor recipients and the game’s beneficiaries are the Medal of Honor Museum Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Chan Gailey, former head coach at Georgia Tech, Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills, will coach the Nationals.
While with the Owls, Smith was a Mr. Football finalist in 2008 and 2009 and was selected to the USA TODAY and Parade Magazine All-America teams after his senior season. He played in the U.S. Army All-America game and then began his career at Tennessee.
Smith made the 2010 All-SEC Freshman team and played in 37 games – he started 14 times – from 2010-12. In 2013 Smith started nine of 10 games – he missed two games with a broken thumb – and recorded 28 tackles and had returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown in the Vols’ 55-23 loss to Auburn on Nov. 9.
During Tennessee’s off week, Smith returned home when Ooltewah retired his jersey (No. 36) on Oct. 11 during halftime ceremonies of the Owls’ 42-14 victory over District 5-AAA foe Walker Valley.
In four seasons in Knoxville, Smith had 120 tackles, five sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss.
Saturday’s game, which was announced on Oct. 1, will not be televised, but bowl chairman Tommy McQueeney believes that will change for the 2015 game.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)