Claim to fame: Known more for his play-making legs, the rising junior emerged last season as the Knights’ starting quarterback after splitting time with Damion May through the first four games. Improving his game and his physique in the offseason, including growing at least three inches, Smith hopes it’ll translate to improved performances next season after throwing eight interceptions to just three touchdowns.
How’s it going out there during spring practices?
“It’s very high-tempo, we’ve got basically a whole new offense going on — very fast paced — I like it. Everything’s going very smooth, our offense is a lot better, I have a lot more trust in our coaches and our players as a whole, it’s just a great feeling (out there).”
What’s the big difference for you this year compared to last year at this time?
“It’s much more relaxing now that everybody knows their own positions, and they’re firm positions, so everybody respects me as a leader and I know my role on the team.”
The quarterback is naturally a leader on the team, so how have you grown into that role this offseason?
“As you play better (the other players) respect you more, and I think I earned my respect last year. And this year I just keep progressing as a player and they keep on respecting me as a player, and we all respect each other as (teammates).”
You’ve been known for your athleticism, but how have you developed as a quarterback?
“A lot of time and dedication in the offseason putting in work, and coming in during the summer learning every step of our plays and learning all these different defenses, things I didn’t get a chance to do last year because of the timing. Just stepping up and being that guy as the quarterback.”
Your ability to run with the ball has never been questioned, but how has your throwing progressed this offseason?
“I think I’ve progressed tremendously with my arm, I’ve worked on that a lot more than I’ve worked on my athleticism because that’s just naturally there. So I’ve been working on my arm since the end of last season, and that’s all I’ve been doing ever since, and foot work.”
Is it nice going into it as the established starter?
“Yeah. It’s just, you earn it, you get it. Yeah, it’s nice.”
What did the DeSoto loss in bi-district teach you about being a true playoff contender?
“It was actually a very good experience for my first season, it showed me what a legit team is suppose to be look like in high school at the 5A level. It just showed our team how to practice and how to work things out and progress.”