Dreams Come True for David Smith

Some high school players go through an uneventful recruiting process. While they may get the occasional contact from schools, it ultimately does not translate into a scholarship offer or an official visit. David Smith, an integral member of Arizona's 5A champion Hamilton High School, was one of those recruiting stories. The defensive lineman has yearned long to don the maroon and gold, and after qualifying academically he will do just that. DevilsDigest sat down with ASU's newest signee.

"I met with Coach Koetter and the other coaches yesterday (Monday)," said David Smith. "They gave the papers to take home and sign. I signed them as soon as I got home (smile), and faxed them as soon as I could. I wanted to make sure everything was ready."

The defensive lineman has followed the Sun Devils for a while, and while he understood the lack of recruiting attention, he still was disappointed. "My junior year I went to a lot of their games," stated Smith. "And I didn't get that many letters. In my senior year, I didn't hear from them at all. I thought they weren't interested, but I figured it was because of my grades. I was really bummed. ASU wasn't in the picture, and it was my dream to go there."

Smith mentioned Washington, Colorado State, San Diego State, and Northern Arizona as some of the schools that did show interest. Nevertheless, none of them took a chance on the Arizona Republic's 1st team 5A All-State member. "A lot of schools didn't think I was gonna pass the test and qualify," recalled Smith. "So, I never got any offers or went on any visits. My teacher who I studied with for the test had faith in me when no one else did. But everything worked out fine in the end."

The Hamilton standout never gave up on his dream to play for his hometown school. He asked his coach, John Wrenn, to inquire whether there was a scholarship available for him. Naturally, his initiative paid quick dividends. "Three weeks ago my coach called ASU, because I thought I did pretty good on my ACT," Smith said. "He asked them if they would give me a scholarship, and ASU said that if I qualified they would give me a full ride. When Coach Wrenn gave them my test score, they offered me a scholarship that same night."

The 6-4 250 defensive lineman said that he's happy to come and help ASU in an area of need. He's confident that he can grow physically into the role the coaches have for him. "The coaches told me that they're looking at me as a defensive end," he said. "I have a big frame, so I know if I started lifting weights for a year there I'll get some weight on me. I know I have to get a little quicker and stronger to play at the college level."

Smith's senior year stats include 9.5 sacks, 90 total tackles, including 45.5 tackles for loss. "I'm very disciplined with my techniques," he claimed, "because if I don't Coach Wrenn would get after me (smile). I'm not a loud guy, but I get the job done. I was one of my team's captains in high school, so hopefully I'll be the captain at ASU in a couple of years."

David Smith's story is a lesson in perseverance. His self-initiated recruiting efforts contained the same vigor he displayed when playing for his high school championship team. "It was a lot of hard work studying for that test," said Smith. "When I passed it I said ‘now I have a chance!' I wanted to go to ASU ever since I was little. Now I'm part of the team." There have been many successful homegrown linemen at ASU, and David Smith just may turn out to be another member of that honored list.

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