Has it been done before? Yeah? Ok, you already know about Reggie. You already know that he's one of the best players in the country at his position. The 6 interceptions doesn't hurt, nor does the 1,500+ yards on offense with the 24 touchdowns.
If there is ANYONE that has room to talk, it's Santa Fe's Reggie Smith.
But, he doesn't. In fact, Reggie is the opposite of that, somewhat stoic at times, certainly silent in lauding himself or his many achievements. Reggie walks the walk, but he doesn't talk the talk. "Oh, if I am on the field and someone starts talking to me, I might say something." Reggie said. "But, I'm not the guy that goes out there and starts talking a lot."
You can bet they are talking to him, though. When you are touted as Reggie has been for over two years now, anyone that has the audacity to talk to him will jaw, banter and smack-talk right up until Smith burns them for a score.
That's probably happened a lot.
Well, come January 15th, Reggie will not only have the joy of playing with some of the best players in all of the country, but mixed in that group, there's bound to be some of the best talkers as well. You know what Reggie is worried about?
"I just don't want to screw up on national TV." He said.
That's Reggie. Very sure of what he can out there and confident that given a one-on-one situation, against most anyone at this level, he's able to hold his own, but with his, you are only as good as your last play. "If I get an interception, that's great when it happens, but if the next play, a guy catches a touchdown on me, you don't even remember that interception." He said.
"All you think about is what you did wrong on that play."
Fame is fleeting, so for Smith, his reluctance to embrace the accolades that have followed him since he was a Junior have made him very mature for his age. Just enough that when he looks at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, it's a challenge, but it's also a privilege. "It's great to be able to play with and against so many great players." Smith said. "You just go out there, do what the coaches tell you to do and try as hard as you can."
"If you end up having a good game, you did it against probably the best competition anyone has ever faced, so it's a lot to look forward to."
Something else college football fans look forward to nowadays with this game is the multitude of announcements from some of the prep-elite as to where they intend to go to school. Fellow Safety, Adam Myers-White along with players like Raymond Henderson, Nyan Boateng and more are all waiting for this game so that they can pull out a helmet, a hat or whatever, telling everyone their choice.
Not for Reggie.
"I'd be too nervous to do something like that." He said. "That's really just not me."
No, it's not him and his comments over his prolific past have proven that out, over and over again.
Which brings us to his other talent, which I have dubbed him up for an award, one I gave to Jeff Byers last year. That of saying more without saying anything at all.
Smith will chuckle a bit if jokingly try to squeeze him for a favorite. He'll laugh, say everyone is the same and the update you write will have to find some way to write differently the same thing everyone else has written fifteen times before you.
I'll forgive Reggie without hesitation, though, because like most recruits, he's got a very important decision to make, one that will effect the rest of his life.
Ok, so who's it going to be? "I don't know right now." Reggie said laughingly. "I'm just trying to take everything in stride."
Reggie is so nice about things, he even took my good-natured ribbing about these visits he's said he's going to take, but from the way it was reported he said them, I wasn't quite convinced just how serious he was. "Oh, they are just schools I am thinking about." Reggie said of Penn State, Texas A&M and others. "I haven't really sat down and made anything official as to when I will visit where."
To most, the visits he cares about most have already been taken. USC, Oklahoma, Nebraska, all in the rearview mirror and what's ahead is time. How much time is obviously dictated solely by Smith, but Reggie will be the first to say that he's not dragging it out, rather making sure that "when" actually means, when he knows. "You have to be sure of your decision." He said. "Yeah, there's a lot of pressure to commit early and all that, but I know that I don't want to rush into anything, because what if it wasn't the right choice?"
"I think people would respect the choice more if they knew that it came after looking at everything before I decided."
The everything is easy now, because he's seen everything else, at least of the aforementioned trio. The campus, the facilities, the players, where the bathrooms are – everything once, twice and perhaps more.
Now, it's about one thing that actually can change from one day to the next. "It's really going to come down to my relationships and the ones I have built up during all this." Reggie said. "Who's recruiting me, how I get along with them and just what they have been like the whole time."
"They are the people I will be with for the next few years, so it's important that we really gel."
Ok, so who does he "gel" with the best?
(Reggie laugh) "I like them all, really." He said. "Everyone has been great and I've gotten to know a lot of these coaches. It's going to be hard telling any one of them no at some point, because I have enjoyed getting to know everyone that I've met."
Ok, that's it, Reggie gets the award. Move over Jeff Byers.
Seriously, this is what Reggie has done for the most part this year. As the year has worn on and his choices have apparently gotten fewer, he is of course even more reserved in what he says. If Reggie does say anything about his choice, it's that it will come around the bowl-game, but definitely not during and probably not before.
After all that and my prodding that he should at least talk some smack down in San Antonio, he said that if a player really gets after him and starts talking non-stop, he might, just possibly utter something in return.
"Oh, if he's talking a bunch, I don't know, I might say something." He said.
"But, I still don't want to screw up on national TV."