October 17, 2010

Smith talks about his commitment and life

Some players learn how to deal with the struggles of life through the playing field and some players look to the playing field to escape the struggles of life. For Blinn Community College defensive tackle Dominic Smith the field has definitely been an escape for him.

The route that Smith has had to take to get the where he is now is one that has been told a lot in the history of sports. Everyone has heard the hard luck stories of players who overcome some of life's most difficult obstacles to attain success. None of that makes Smith's story any less amazing though. Smith played his high school football on the offensive line right here in Houston at Alief's Hastings High School. His story starts a little earlier than that though.

"When I was young we never had a lot," says the 6-foot-3, 310 pound defensive tackle. "We never had much space or anything. I remember when I was little I would have to sleep with my mom because there was no room. We just made do with what we had."

Lack of space during his adolescence would prove to be the least of Smith's worries though as his teenage years were about to become the most turbulent of his life.

"I didn't have the grades coming out of high school and I had all this crazy stuff going on in my life," he said. "I was trying to make a decision on if I would play football again and if I did where would it be.

Smith's statement that he had all the crazy stuff going on in his life is an understatement. Smith went a little more into depth about his teenage years which were anything but ideal for a young man to focus on his future.

"When I was 15 both my parents went to jail," he said. "It was really hard on me because I had to grow up so fast. I had to learn to deal with stuff on my own. I have a brother and we lived with some family, some cousins. Those times were really tough, but I thank God for all the good times and all the bad times in my life because they all lead me to where I a now."

Smith delved even further into his home life situation and how it got to where it did.

"Both my parents are some good parents," he added. "I don't take anything from them. They were some really great parents and they had to do what they had to do for the family. Unfortunately they got in trouble for it."

So after Hastings, Smith decided to try to continue the game that was so much of a release for him. The game that allowed him to escape the realities of his home life for a few hours at a time.

"I've been through a lot," says Smith. "God has brought me a long way. Every time I get a chance to play, I play with a chip on my shoulder just because of what I have been through."

Smith arrived in Brenham as a 6-foot-2, 290 pound offensive lineman and went to work in a process that has eventually led him to where he is now. A defensive lineman getting interest from some of the top programs in the country. A defensive lineman that has decided to come home to play for his hometown team.

"I had been hearing from a lot of schools that are showing interest," Smith said Saturday. "Tennessee, Central Florida, Kansas State, Nebraska and a little bit from Oklahoma too. Aside from all of that though, I am a Cougar. Houston is the right place for me right now because it is a part of home. I want to represent for Houston."

Smith says his mom, who is home now and has settled into a sturdy life despite the haunts of her past, his brother and even his father who still remains incarcerated are all very excited about where he has ended up and are thrilled to know he is coming home.

One of the biggest factors however, besides Smith's eagerness to come home to complete the circle is the relationship he has developed with Cougar defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat.

"More importantly than all the reasons I picked the Cougars is Coach Jeffcoat" said the massive lineman. "He was a real good player in his day and I told him as long as he can make me as good as him I would be willing to join the team. I know he is a great coach now and I am a hard worker. I told him if there is extra work we need to do that I am willing to do it. They told me down there that he all about business and I think that fits me perfectly."

One point Smith brought up while talking about Blinn's recent loss to Navarro, where the game came down to the final play of the game before the Buccaneers fell 9-7 in Corsicana, is that his coaches teach them to never give up until the clock reads zeros. Well, it's safe to say that no matter what route Smith has taken to get to where he is he definitely learned at an early age that life like football should never be given up on, no matter how bleak the outlook may be.

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