Smith Grounded by Family and Faith

Garrison Smith has all the accolades any high school football player could ever want. A member of the prestigious Top 100, Smith is ranked as the No. 2 best defensive tackle in America and the nation's No. 26 ranked player overall.

At 6-3 1/2 and 260-pounds, Garrison Smith possesses an insatiable appetite to find the ball carrier as was the case during his junior season. Smith racked up 108 tackles, 27 for loss, 14 sacks and seven fumbles caused. He has great strength with a 400-pound bench and 500-pound squat. As good as he has been on the field he is equally as impressive off the field and in the classroom with a 3.5 GPA and 1280 SAT.

On the field, Smith is considered an every down defensive lineman with his ability to play inside or outside. He plays with great pad leverage coupled with great speed and quickness of the ball which is why he is one of the most heavily recruited players in the country.

To understand Smith and where he draws strength from you must first understand the things most important in his life and for him three stand alone.

"God, family, and school," he said. "Those are my three priorities. My family is very important. I spend a lot of time with my grandparents. They are my second parents and they have raised me with my parents since I was a baby. I love spending time with them and I know I have to cherish the time that I have with them while on this earth. School is also very important to me. There is life after football so one day every athlete is going to need something to fall back on."

Once you understand the things most important to him it's not hard to realize where his strength comes from.

"I find all my strength in my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I am Christian first and foremost, but I do confess I am not perfect by any means. I do know and I give honor and glory to God that's all my gifts and talents have be given to me by God and I am very thankful. Without God and the blessings he has gave me I would be nothing and once again I must say glory be to God."

Graduates of North Carolina A&T, Greg Smith currently works for the state and Cynthia Smith the federal government, but spend any time with one of their four children and you will see the children have been raised the right way. They understand the things to value in life and the things to hold on to. Football has always been in the Smith household and given the fact that Mr. Smith played defensive tackle at A&T it was only a matter of time before one of his children followed in his footsteps.

One of four siblings, Smith has two older brothers and a little sister. His older brother, Greg, graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in business management and played wide receiver for the yellow jackets. He is currently playing his last season at Jacksonville State. His other brother, Gerald, is currently a rising senior at North Carolina A&T and is majoring in electrical engineering. The youngest, his little sister is a rising sixth grader.

Smith talked about what it was like growing up with two competitive brothers

"Growing up, my oldest brother Greg was the trendsetter. He started off playing sports and I grew up always wanting to be like him. My brother set the standards for sports but most importantly academics. So watching him, my brother Gerald and I followed suit. With both my brothers being great scholars as well as athletes it was always great pressure on me."

When you speak with Smith in person you quickly understand that he is a different person off the field. Very laid back and quiet he's listening and learning to soak up as much information as he can but on the football field it's a different story all together.

"I play football because I love the game. I grew up watching players like Emmitt Smith (Florida 87-89) and wanting to be a running back. As I grew, weighing 205 in the fourth grade, my running back dream soon was short lived. My personality in my everyday life is normal I like to have fun hang out I'm a happy guy and I love my life even with the up's and down's. On the field I am a totally different person. I would guess people that know me on and off the field would say I'm schizophrenic or something to that nature. I grew up in the city of Atlanta in the heart of the city Fulton County anywhere between Zone 1 and Zone 4 that's where I reside. I grew up watching movies like Rambo, and Terminator 2 or any kind of fighting warrior movie. So my mindset and train of thought is a little different from the average person."

For Smith he realized that he could potentially use football as an outlet to better not only himself but his family.

"I started playing recreation ball or (Pop Warner) when I was 10-years-old. I realized how football could take you somewhere after my oldest brother got a full scholarship to Georgia Tech. Football always kept me active and was always a good outlet and motivation for doing the right things."

Smith holds offers from some of the top programs in the country including Florida, Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State and USC.

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