Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder still has a few tricks up his sleeve. It may have been the norm for KState during Snyder's first tenure as Head Coach to wait til late in the recruiting game to bring in players for visits and gain commitments. What wasn't normal was a parade of players signing on with the Wildcats after National Signing Day. Perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks, as they say. Sheldon Smith, WR from Cerritos JC in California, could just well be living proof of that.
"Yeah, I came in last weekend on Friday. Kansas State is a great place! Billy McClellan was my host. The coaches were all great and I had a really good time visiting" replied Smith as we opened our wide-ranging conversation. Coming in at 6'1" and 185 pounds with 4.45 speed, Sheldon Smith has some big shoes to fill as far as Wide Receivers getting their start at Cerritos JC are concerned. Fear not though, Wildcat Faithful, Sheldon assured me that he's every bit the player he patterns himself after...former Cerritos product T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
"T.J. Houshmandzadeh, for sure, that's who I would say I play like. He went to Cerritos too, and I got to meet him, actually. If I had to say there was one receiver I would compare to, it would definitely be Housh," Smith told KStatefans. Asked to describe himself as a receiver, Smith offered "If I had to say in 3 words, they would be strategical, quick and surprising. I can do a lot of surprising things on the field. I see the whole field and I understand the game really well. I understand the whole game, the tactics and strategies of play calling."
Returning to talking about his visit, Sheldon had high praise for the Wildcat Staff, both Ron Prince's Staff and Bill Snyder's Staff. "Well, Coach Rahne has been recruiting me for about two years, actually. He got in touch with me during my Freshman year and KState has been keeping up with me ever since." When asked why he didn't sign earlier at Signing Day, Smith explained "Well, KState didn't have a Wide Receivers Coach at the time. Coach Rahne kept up with me though, and told me not to worry about things. He was great throughout the process. And once Coach Smith came on, Coach Rahne just passed him my info and we went from there." So...that was it...Coach Rahne to Coach Smith to the visit to commitment? "Yeah man. It really sounds complicated, but it was easy for me. I knew all the old coaches and liked the staff a lot. But now it's Bill Snyder. He's a great coach. And Coach Smith is really cool. So it was an easy decision to continue with Kansas State."
So, the visit is finished and the commitment is all wrapped up. What's Sheldon doing at the moment? "Right now I'm finishing up my last semester at Cerritos. I'm taking 10 units and graduate in May, but I'll be in Manhattan in the Summer." Having already started his college career, Sheldon shared that he'd like to remain involved with sports when he's finished playing football. "I'm going to major in Kinesiology at KState, and I'd love to open my own Sports Therapy/Training complex when I'm through playing football. I always want to be connected in some way to sports."
Of course, football is not all that takes up Sheldon Smith's time. Like most football players, video games are a big part of the off-time activities. "Call to Duty. That's MY game! Call to Duty 4&5 on Xbox. If anyone out there needs some schooling in Call to Duty, I'm your guy." That's right. Not Madden. Call to Duty. Sheldon Smith, surprising on and off the field. "I watch SportsCenter. All the time. And when it's not on, I watch ESPNNews. And the Lakers when they're on TV. I'm from Los Angeles, so I have to follow the Lakers."
"To all the KStaters out there, I'd just like to say that I will work hard and earn everything I get. I'm REALLY excited to be coming to Kansas State."
Bill Snyder has history at Kansas State. A history of winning, and a history finding Junior College recruits that come to Manhattan and produce. It would appear that Coach Snyder has added to his recruiting bag of tricks, that being adding talent and depth after Signing Day, and perhaps even the trick of having T.J. Houshmandzedeh lining up in Purple for the next few seasons. Or at least Sheldon Smith in the guise of Housh, which will be fine by Wildcat fans everywhere.