Sylvan Hills' Hezekiah Smith staying busy

Bears' three-sport star Hezekiah Smith, who will play in the AAU hoops state tournament in Little Rock this weekend, is filling up his days with school, track, basketball and football recruiting.

This finishing second is getting a little old to Sylvan Hills three-sport standout Hezekiah Smith, the young man with unique talents to go along with his unique name.

"I'm ready to hold the championship trophy, not the runner-up one," notes the 6-0, 195-pound Smith, a junior outside linebacker-safety that is one of the University of Arkansas top football recruiting priorities.

As a sophomore, Smith was a part of the Bears' football team that made it all the way to the Class AAAA state final before falling to Stuttgart 49-32 at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.

While Sylvan Hills was bounced in the first round of the 2003 state grid playoffs, Smith and his teammates found themselves in the 2004 Class AAAA state basketball final only to fall to Little Rock Mills on some questionable calls in the final minute of play.

"What can you do but learn from the adversity and try to become a better person because of it," Smith said. "Don't get me wrong. I am very appreciative of our success. Still it would have just been nice to win one of those two."

Smith, who has already been offered a scholarship by the Razorback football program, is a busy young man this spring.

In addition to running track, he is also playing basketball for the Arkansas Wings and will be in action with that squad this weekend in the Arkansas AAU state tournament at Philander Smith College.

Smith, who boasts a best of 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and who is currently running a leg of the 4 x 400 relay for an injury-riddled Sylvan Hills track team, also will attend a Nike football camp on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta on May 8.

"It's a busy time, but I'm enjoying it all," said Smith, who still manages to sport a 3.8 grade point average.

As he is the recruiting attention that is coming from schools such as Arkansas and Iowa and many others.

"I don't really have a top five yet, but I am getting a lot of mail from a lot of different schools," Smith said. "Obviously Arkansas is the school at the top of my list."

That's no surprising since Smith was a familiar sight at Arkansas football games in Fayettevlle and Little Rock last fall.

"I love Arkansas coaching staff and they are all really down to earth," Smith said. "(Arkansas head) Coach Houston Nutt and (assistants) Danny Nutt , Coach (Chris) Vaughn and Coach (Clifton) Ealy are all just great guys that I really can relate to and have great conversations with. They've also got great facilities and just a great program."

Smith has played running back and also lined up just about everywhere on defense for the Bears' football team over the last two seasons.

"I've been at linebacker, corner, safety - just about everywhere expect on the defensive line," Smith said. "Our coaches just try to put me in the best possible position each week to make plays."

Smith said he will attend summer camps at both the University of Arkansas and Vanderbilt and spend the summer working out and playing basketball.

"I think I am pretty strong and pretty fast, but there is always room to get stronger and work on my speed," Smith said. "Another thing I want to do is work on my leadership. Now that I am going to be a senior, I want to be the best possible leader I can be."

He feels like both his football and basketball teams can be contenders for state championship crowns if things fall right and some youngsters step up.

"That would be the right way to end things is to finally take that last step," Smith said. "That would be the perfect ending for all of us who have worked so hard."


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