Mr. Smith Goes To Dallas: An Interview With Cowboys Rookie LB Will Smith

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Nov 16, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Bryce Petty (14) is tackled by Texas Tech Red Raiders linebacker Will Smith (7) in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s every football fan’s dream is not only to play in the NFL, but play for their favorite team. Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker Will Smith had his dream become a reality earlier this month when he was drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round of 2014 NFL Draft.

“I grew up rooting for them, so it was really exciting for me and my family,” Smith said. “It’s just so crazy, this is an incredible weight lifted off my shoulders. The Cowboys have been my favorite team since I was young, so this makes it even more surreal. I can’t wait to put on that blue and silver uniform and get to work.”

I recently had the chance to talk with the former Texas Tech Red Raider about joining his childhood club and being a part of the NFL for the first time. For Smith, it seemed like it was a family tradition to be a Cowboys fan. His grandfather, who lived in Ohio, instilled in all of his sons a love for the Cowboys. And that bleeding silver and blue tradition was passed down to Smith, his twin brother Wade, Jr. and his younger brother, Wesley. Both of his parents were also athletes. His father, Wade Sr., played football at New Mexico. While his mother, Gina, played college basketball at California Baptist University.

Smith is a run-and-hit, fast-flowing speed linebacker most ideally suited for a Tampa-2 front.
Speaking of the west coast, Smith is originally from Riverside, California. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, earning most valuable player honors in football, basketball and track. Smith spent his freshman year of college at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan. He then transferred back home to Riverside Community College for his sophomore year, where he led the team to an 11-0 record. After recording 36 solo tackles, 13 tackles for loss, three interceptions and a touchdown, Smith had several Division I offers. He chose Texas Tech.

The junior exploded on to the scene as a newcomer to the Red Raiders, recording 55 total tackles while playing in all 13 games in 2012. But that was only an appetizer for the entree that was to come Smith’s senior year.  Last season, he recorded an amazing 120 total tackles, 10. 5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and a fumble return for a touchdown. His 120 total tackles are the most at Texas Tech since 2002, which includes an amazing 34 tackles made in back-to-back games in 2013. And this fact should make Cowboys fans very happy: Last November, Smith recorded a career-high 16 tackles (13 solo) against Baylor at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

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