When Dwight Smith arrived at TCU, nobody thought he would ever be able to play football for them. One year later, he may not only the most underrated player in college football, but also one of the best running backs in the entire NCAA.
Smith had a very interesting journey through high school. He started out in Texas, moved to California in his junior year to live with his dad, and then back to Texas for his senior season. But something happened to add a big speed bump in his road.
When Smith returned to Texas, he learned that some of the classes that he took in California did not count towards his high school credits and that he wouldn't be eligible for college.
As a football player in high school, he was one of the best Texas has ever seen. He lead Carthage High School to their first ever division 3-A state championship in his senior season. During that season he rushed for a whopping 2,820 yards, 11.8 yards per carry and 43 touchdowns in a single season.
That included 272 yards and five touchdowns in the state championship game.
At 5'11, 225, he has the body to be a great running back. Add that to his hand timed 4.24 and 4.39 electronic timed 40 yard dash at a USC workout and his brute strength, and you have everything you need to be a dominating running back.
Smith had one visit to USC, and then it became the thought that he would never be able to play college football, so no teams gave him offers.
USC coaches said he was not only the best player to visit that year, but the best running back they've ever had visit. A player who is widely regarded as the best player in the state of Texas, and one of the best high school running backs ever, was very unlikely to even play a single down in college.
USC gave him a verbal offer on the spot, but then a week later revoked it after they found out that he had a zero percent chance of qualifying academically. Texas was also recruiting him very hard until they saw the exact same thing.
That didn't stop TCU from going after him. TCU, along with the help of his high school coach, did a lot of research, and found a spot where Smith could qualify—if was a long shot, but they went for it.
They tried to appeal it anyways, thinking there's a less than 1% chance it would go through. Very shockingly, the appeal went through, so there was now a very slight chance that Smith would be able to qualify.
Smith then took the ACT test, and passed it, which was another big surprise. He was beginning to defy all odds and it started looking even better for him.
But it was still a big long shot, as he needed two years worth of classes to take all in his last semester of high school.
When Major Applewhite of Texas saw Smith actually had a slim chance of playing college football, he offered him right on the spot, which was a few days before National Signing Day.
But Smith stayed loyal to the team that originally offered him and that stuck with him the whole way in TCU. He still had a ton of work to do, but TCU had a potential diamond in the rough with Smith.
TCU showed a lot of patients and interest in helping him not only be able to live his dream and play football, but also help get his grades up and live a successful life.
He spent all of 2009 as a greyshirt (You go to the campus, but are not on the football team, so the next year you can play football as a true freshman) and worked very hard to get the amount of credits he needed to play football.
Smith worked extremely hard all year long to catch up on year's worth of work, and recently became eligible to play college football.
Nobody thought he would be able to get his grades up that much and work that hard, but he proved people wrong. Nobody would've thought that TCU would ever have a running back as good and talented as LaDanian Tomlinson, but they might have one, just a decade later, in Smith.
But don't take it from me how good he is, here are some things that other people have said about Smith:
NFL running back who was at the same football camp working out with Smith once said, "Dwight Smith has the most God-Given talent I have ever seen in a young player. He could play in the NFL right now, and he would not only be the biggest running back on my NFL team right now, but he would also be the fastest".
An opposing team's coach that Carthage and Smith played against said, "Dwight Smith is better at his age, than any other running back that I have ever seen in East Texas. And that includes Adrian Peterson who I saw play, and whom I coached against. Smith is ahead of Peterson at their same ages. Smith will be a starting running back in the NFL".
An opposing player once said, "I had the privilege of seeing Dwight Smith play last fall in a district game. After the first time I saw him carry the ball I realized the chances of beating Carthage was about zero.
"This kid had size about 225 and could flat out fly. I was concerned that someone would try to take Dwight head on and be seriously hurt. The best high school running back I have ever seen. This kid's talent just blew me away".
That is very high praise for a player that you've most likely never heard of. It's amazing to me how a player this talented is talked about this little. He deserves the hype Adrian Peterson got when he was a freshman at Oklahoma, Smith could be that good.
To see his only highlights, check him out in the Texas High School State Championship game in the Dallas Cowboys stadium here:
Smith is #22 on the red team.
If you didn't know the name, Dwight Smith, you do now and you will be hearing a lot more about it in the future.
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