Smith Named MVP At Army Junior Combine

San Antonio, Tex.--Out of more than 600 players participating in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Junior Combine, the best of the best proved to be a talented offensive lineman from the state of Alabama.

Massive Andre Smith from Huffman High School in Birmingham was a dominant figure for the Vikings as a junior and that carried over this week when he wowed prospects from around the country with his combination of size and speed.

Measuring in at 6-3, 5/8, 315 pounds, Smith ran an electronic 40-yard dash time of 5.1 seconds in the 40-yard dash on Saturday night on a slow track and on Sunday handled himself well in the one-on-one portion of the combine in pass rushing drills. The performance was good enough to earn him the Reebok Most Outstanding Athlete of the weekend, an honor he says comes from an outside source.

"I have to give glory to God, my Lord and Savior Jesus," Smith says. "He helps me through all things. He wouldn't give me anything I didn't deserve and I'm glad He gave me the faith, strength and courage to do all the things I needed to do to win this award."

Thought to be one of the top offensive line prosepcts in the nation for the class of 2006 going into the weekend, Smith proved he belongs in that group. He says coming into the combine he wasn't sure where he stacked up, but now he feels good about where his game is heading into his senior season.

"I didn't even know," Smith says. "I figured there would be some very good offensive linemen here and I figured that I would just have to work hard, put all my faith in God and work from there."

Andre Smith (52) blocks Raven Gray in the Alabama North-South All-Star Game in December, a contest that featured top junior prospects.

Hanging out and spending a lot of free time with fellow Birmingham native Eugene Sowell, the younger brother of Auburn senior linebacker Mayo Sowell, Smith says his trip to San Antonio was one he ejoyed. Making it even more fun was performing well with many of the top recruiting analysts in the country in attendance such as recruiting scouts Jamie Newberg and Scott Kennedy as well as Tom Lemming.

"It has been fun," Smith says. "You get to meet new people. It's just that you came out here to work hard and all the work you've been doing is paying off. It's not like you're out here for nothing. You're showing that you can actually win something if you work hard on the field, in the classroom and in the weight room."

Saying he's wide open regarding his college choices, Smith has already been to games at both Auburn and Alabama, but that won't be the end of his recruitment. He has received letters from almost every big-time program in the country and will be perhaps the most heavily recruited player to come out of the state of Alabama since Auburn star Carnell "Cadillac" Williams four years ago.

Something that should help Smith's cause is the national attention he garnered in San Antonio. Throw in the fact he has an invitation to return next year for the senior game and you have makings of a recruiting mania in the Magic City next year. When the time comes Smith says he'll be ready because he's looking to get even better before he returns for his shot at the big time.

"It would be an honor to play in a game and be one of the top 86 players in the nation," he says. "Just to win this award makes me want to do more and work even harder to get myself to the next level."

Picking up the award for the Most Outstanding Offensive Player was wide receiver Percy Harvin from Landstown High in Virginia Beach, Va. The 5-11, 185 Harvin ran a time of 4.5 in the 40 on a slow track and showed explosiveness in his routes as well as good hands.

The defensive MVP went to Aaron Williams from Jackson, Miss. The 5-11, 265 nose tackle was dominating up front and showed good speed and quickness off the ball.

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