Introducing the 2005 Class: Travis Smith

Growing up in one of the largest cities in the nation, it would be natural for football players like Travis Smith to root for the local colleges such as USC and UCLA. But the cornerback elected to cheer for a different team, and it's probably no coincidence that this team is the same one he signed a letter of intent with.

"Ever since I started high school, I really started to get into football and watched it a lot on TV," said the 6-0 174 Travis Smith. "You always want to root for the underdog, and sometimes ASU was the underdog. You want to see a new team on top."

Despite being rated as the No. 2 defensive back in the city by The Los Angeles Times, as well being an all-city section and first-team All-Coliseum League, Smith didn't see his hometown schools recruiting him in earnest. Looking back, the cornerback isn't disappointed over that fact, and if anything else can use that for motivation.

"I want to prove them down the road that they made a mistake," he remarked. "But every school has the certain players that they look for - I guess I wasn't that player. But even if they wanted me, I think I would still want to play away from home and choose Arizona State."

And why wouldn't he? The Sun Devils were the first school to offer him a scholarship. "I had a meeting with Coach Carrier in the summer after my junior year," Smith recalled. "He offered me right after that meeting. I didn't know much about him, but all my coaches told me about his background and NFL experience. They said that if he was a great player, he can also be a great teacher. So I did take that in consideration during the recruiting process." Smith added that Utah, Hawaii, Washington State, and Colorado were others schools that extended offers early in the recruiting process.

Smith committed the next day after his official visit to Tempe. "The campus was real nice," he said of his trip. "I got to see how they go through their routine watching film, techniques in practice, coverages…It's a beautiful school and I felt comfortable really quickly there." More importantly, the loyalty factor was something that Smith wasn't oblivious to. "I visited ASU after the season ended," he said, "my name was getting out there, and I started getting some more looks. Arizona State offered me first, and I'm thinking ‘OK, I know what I need to get there.' I always liked that school, and now they were marketing it to me so I was getting real familiar with it. Them offering me first was a big reason why I committed."

The PrepStar postseason All-Region selection registered 36 tackles and seven interceptions in his senior season, and caught 24 passes for 612 yards and nine touchdowns as a wide receiver that same year. Smith said he has no strong preference to either position. "Most schools wanted me as a cornerback," he commented. "A couple of schools were recruiting me at both positions. I wouldn't mind playing receiver, but I like playing cornerback. If there was an opportunity to play wide receiver at ASU, I would do it."

Smith considers his coverage skills, speed, and knack for interceptions as his strong points. He would like to work on being more aggressive, and as a result has bulked up to 174 pounds and doesn't plan to stop there. Another attribute that Smith sees as an advantage is the league environment he played in. "I think it's a big advantage that I played in L.A.," he claimed. "A lot of good players come from Los Angeles, and the league there is a lot more competitive than other places." The corner was named the Jefferson High Defensive Most Valuable Player, and he was one of the team's captains last year.

Not only is Smith fully qualified, but he has also won a perfect attendance award as a senior. He plans to come to Tempe in early July to participate in the off-season workouts and take summer school classes.

With a seemingly wide open field of cornerbacks vying for playing time, Smith is determined to make his mark early. "My goal is to work hard and prove to the coach that I should be getting some playing time on the field," he stated. "It's gonna be competitive because they are so many corners, so I have to rise above the competition."

Spoken like someone who truly cheers for the underdog…

Recruit Profile

Name

Travis Smith

High School

Jefferson (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Position

CB

Height

6-0

Weight

174

Date of birth

12/8/86

Birthplace

Los Angeles, Cailf

Nickname

"I had a few (smile). My favorite one is TSmith."

Favorite TV show

"My Wife and Kids"

Favorite movie

"State Property"

Favorite singer/band

"Jay-Z"

Favorite food

"Pizza"

Favorite drink

"Sprite"

Favorite athlete

"Reggie Miller"

Favorite pro team

"Indiana Pacers"

Person you most admire

"My dad. He has encouraged me throughout my life, and encouraged me to always go the extra mile."

First football memory

"I was in 10th grade – I had no playing experience. The two starters were injured, so the coach put me in. I returned an interception for a touchdown."

One thing most people don't know about me

"I'm a laid back person. When people meet me, they don't think I'm that type of person."

Why did you choose ASU?

"I've been a fan of Arizona State for a while. When I took the trip I just felt comfortable and knew this was the place for me."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Hopefully in the NFL. If not, own my own business."

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