Smith ready to become a Cat

There were more than a few occasions during the 2001 football season when Arizona's defensive coaches were tweaking the Double Eagle Flex scheme in order to develop a stronger pass rush. However, if there is one area Wildcat coaches should feel confident about the current recruiting class, it should be at the rush defensive end. I spoke with incoming defensive end Marcus Smith. Here's the interview.

Tim Volk was the first defensive end to commit to Wildcat Head Coach John Mackovic back in the fall while San Diego Mission Bay's Marcus Smith may represent the final piece of the Wildcat's rush end corps.

Smith is a tough guy to catch on the phone because of his current winter sport schedule, but Cat Tracks finally hooked up with the young man that has been rated one of the top 50 defensive ends in the country by some recruiting services.  In fact, when Cat Tracks finally tracked Marcus down, he had just finished watching the conclusion of the ESPN special on Arizona Football on Sunday.

Cat Tracks: Marcus, when did you start playing football? 

Marcus Smith: I was like about seven, I guess,  when I started playing in Pop Warner.  It wasn't like I wanted to be a football player or anything, I was just playing because I was faster than most people. 

CT: How fast are you now?

Marcus Smith: My 40 time now is 4.6.

CT: How did your team finish this year?

Marcus Smith: We went 12-1, and won the city championship.

CT: Do you think you will redshirt next year or do you anticipate playing?

Marcus Smith: I think I'll play because I'm going to work hard to get bigger. I know I'm talented enough; I just have to get bigger and stronger.

CT: How big are you now Marcus?

Marcus Smith: I'm 6-5, and I weigh 220.  I'd like to be around 230 at least when I get to Tucson.

CT: Are you playing any other sports?

Marcus Smith: I play basketball. I'm the center. I'm averaging about 17 points and 17 rebounds.

CT: Have you thought about playing both sports in college?  Which do you like better?

Marcus Smith: I've thought about playing both sports because actually I like basketball better, but I know I'm better at football.

CT: Marcus, do you prefer playing the rush or rushing the passer?

Marcus Smith: I prefer to rush the passer.  I don't think offensive linemen are quick enough to keep up with me.  They have to choose inside or outside, and with my quickness I can get to the passer.

CT: Did you see the Arizona football special on ESPN?

Marcus Smith: I just saw it, it was on.

CT: What did you think of it?

Marcus Smith: It was interesting. It was like I saw how coach talks to the players and how things are. The man can get real upset at times but the way to get around that is to play right.  You've got to just shake it off.  Everybody who has played football has been yelled at, even in high school.

CT: Do you plan to go to Tucson as soon as school is out to spend the summer working out?

Marcus Smith: I'm going to stay here for the summer.

CT: Which Arizona coach was primarily responsible for recruiting you?

Marcus Smith: Coach  Bernstein (defensive back Coach Steve Bernstein).  He's been recruiting me since the beginning of the football season.

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