Curtis Smith and Derrick Stewart will be members of the 2006 Bearcat recruiting class after not meeting NCAA eligibility standards last year. Both are considered to be blue chip recruits.
UC football fans have been wondering since last year's national signing day about the position Smith will play for the Bearcats. Curtis didn‘t seem to know much more than the fans. "I'm really not sure. I could be a fullback, linebacker or play defensive end." Next he was asked where HE'D like to play. "I played fullback, linebacker and defensive end in high school so I'm not too sure, but I guess fullback." I'm sure the Bearcat position coaches could all use a 255 pound athlete that runs a 4.5 forty and stands 6' 2". Despite being unsure of his college position, Curtis was familiar with the recent success the Bearcats have had with their defensive ends. "I know they've had Trent Cole, Andre Frazier and Adam Roberts play there. I get compared to those guys almost every day."
While a senior at Glenville High School in Cleveland, there were plenty of offers for Smith's college services. So many offers he had trouble remembering some. "I got offers for about all the MAC schools. I had several Big Ten offers including Iowa and Michigan State. It's been a while, but I think LSU also offered." Despite all the interest, Smith made only two official visits. "It started to be known that I had some academic trouble, and I visited only here (UC) and Michigan State. When it came time to make a decision, I picked the place that I thought was best for me."
Another Glenville player expected on UC's roster next year is Freddie Lenix. Smith and Lenix have already been talking about playing against their old Glenville teammates at Ohio State, Ted Ginn Jr. and Troy Smith. "Freddie and I were talking about that the other day. It'll be just like it used to be at practice only with 100,000 people watching." Curtis and Freddie are great athletes, but Curtis was asked if they could catch Ted Ginn Jr. After he stopped laughing, he replied, "I guess we could still catch him a few times. I hope so."
When BCI spoke with Glenville High Schools head football coach, Ted Ginn Sr., at the Bearcats' summer football camp at Colerain High School last year, Coach Ginn said Smith was one of the best athletes he'd ever had at the talent rich school. He also said many of his players had a tough home life. Smith agreed. "There was always something going on, and I was glad to be in sports so I didn't get involved."
Grades kept Curtis from competing last year so he was asked about his progress in the classroom. "To be honest I'm not sure what my GPA is. I just care about passing my classes." Curtis said he'd been able to meet that goal so far.
One of the most enjoyable parts of our interview was talking about Ohio's team-the Cleveland Browns. As he should be, Curtis is a fan of the team with the best uniforms in professional football. "My favorite player would probably be Braylon Edwards, but he got hurt. But yeah I always root for the Browns." Some day in the not so distant future, Curtis may get the chance to do more than just root for an NFL team.