"The academics and athletics at SMU are great," Smith said, "and they're 'going up' in athletics. My family and I talked about it and decided that it was the right fit. It's going to be a great choice for me."
"I'm 6-foot-2, 230 pounds," he said, "and I run 4.5-ish. I work on my agility every day so I can keep my speed up. I don't keep up with my stats. I'm not going to lie, I can't tell you how many sacks or tackles I had last year. I'm not a stats nerd. When you watch my highlight tape, you may not see a bunch of big plays, but you'll see good fundamentals and technique.
"In the 3-4 defense, sometimes you may not make the plays that an outside linebacker in the 4-3 will make. In the 3-4, it's about teamwork and being in the right position and I think that SMU saw that aspect when they watched me play. Some schools were recruiting me as a defensive end, but SMU runs the 3-4 and they want me as an outside linebacker."
McNeil posted a 2-8 mark in 2009 and Smith expects that to change for the better this fall.
"Last season did not go like we expected. We didn't really have a team leader and now we have a new head coach. I think we can do something that we haven't done in awhile this year. I want to go out with a bang and our first game, against Bastrop, is a big one. They have a great scrambling quarterback who will be a test for us."
Another prominent matchup for the Mavericks will come against Round Rock Stony Point, which finished 13-2 last year and defeated McNeil 21-14 in week seven.
"People usually think of Stony Point when they think of Austin-area football," said Smith, "and they usually go deep in the playoffs. Stony Point is known as a powerhouse in Austin and hopefully we can beat them."