Super RB Strongly Favors UM (w/ video)

Perhaps the single most gutsy performance of the 2003 season inside the state of Florida came from Antone Smith in the state championship game. The Pahokee running back carried his team into the game and battled through lots of pain that afternoon from an injury that bothered him all season.

He'd gain 10 yards, limp off, then gain three more on third and two, before limping off again. That continued for 60 minutes as Smith showed why he was widely considered the best junior in the state of Florida.

"I was in so much pain that day but I wasn't about to let my teammates down," Smith said. "We had a championship to win and I wasn't about to stand on the sidelines watching it happen. I was pretty sore for awhile after that."

At 5-8 and 190 pounds, Smith finished his junior campaign with 1,098 yards and 18 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he finished with 1,908 yards and 18 scores. Now he's aiming for a big senior year.

"I want another ring, that's what I want first," he said. "To get there, we need to get better on defense -- a lot better. On offense, we're gonna score a whole lot of points, I know that."

The injured ankle is getting good again and that's not good news for opposing defenses.

"I feel great," he said. "I had an MRI today actually and everything's straight. Doc said I'm good so it's time to lock and load. It hurt a lot though, caused me to miss track season. I ran a 10.85 last year and finished second in the state to McIntosh Nicolas. I thought I could win it this year but I had to get my ankle healthy."

Smith, whose 4.4 40-time with NFL watches on him at Combine proved how fast he is, will be among the fastest recruits in the state this year. He said that comes from a lot of experience.

"I've been playing and running since I was a little jitterbug," he said. "I was 11, 12 years old when I first started running wild on defenses. They haven't stopped me since, only an injury slowed me down. All I know is running back. I think I was born to be a running back."

Smith, who has already received a passing ACT score, said he currently holds 14 written scholarship offers -- including one from UM.

"I dont have no top five or anything like that," he said. "All I know is that I wanna go compete with the best. Right now, Miami is leading big time. They're the favorite. I'm in this thing to compete with the best. If you have plans of playing in the NFL, Miami's the spot. That's your fastest ticket there and I'm ready for the challenge."

The talented running back knows that UM signed four running backs in last year's class and says that won't bother him.

"I don't care if they signed 10," he said. "The best one will play and I feel like that'll be me. I think I can outwork other players and I know the coaches are smart, they'll play the best guys."

Smith, who plans on camping this summer at UM, NC State, and Florida State, said he enjoys being a champion and hopes he can say it again at the next level.

"Heisman or national title, I'm going with the championship," he said. "Nothing beats winning a title and I'm a team guy, the other stuff will come. I'm in this for everyone else too. It's not just me out there."


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