Jason Smith hasn't seen a whole lot of on-the-field success as a football player.
But on Saturday at New York's Radio City Music Hall, the big offensive tackle saw his hard work on the field pay big dividends when he was selected No. 2 overall in the NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams as an heir apparent to future Hall of Fame tackle Orlando Pace, who recently was released. The pick ensured that the draft's top two picks came from Dallas, as the No. 1 selection was Highland Park's Matthew Stafford (Lions).
I'm sure Smith still keeps his eyes on his W.T. White Longhorns, who went 2-8 this past season, which is just about the average record for the Longhorns since I can remember in my time in the Metroplex (about 15 years). Smith finally saw a bit of success at Baylor this past season as new head coach Art Briles has seemingly got the Bears on the right track, just in time to leave.
And one thing's for certain, Smith was an instrumental part in Baylor's turnaround.
He becomes the third Baylor player to be selected No. 2 overall. No Bear has gone No. 1.
"He is as ferocious and intense a practice player as I've ever been around," Baylor coach Art Briles told Chuck Carlton of The Dallas Morning News.
And judging by Smith's character, I think he'll be in it for the long haul with the Rams, a team that struggled to two wins last season.
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"I'm one of those guys who lets my yes's be yes's and my no's be no's, and when I said that, I meant it," Smith told the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois. "When I came (to Rams Park) and I had the opportunity just to be around the guys and see the team atmosphere and how they interacted with each other and the coaches, I was like, 'Man, this is where I need to be."'
You see, before his senior season in high school, Smith was moved from tackle to defensive end so he could get some more offers with his not-so-large fram (215 pounds). He got offers from Houston and Baylor. Then, late in the recruiting process after he'd committed to Baylor, many bigger programs began showing interest. He had none of it.
Adam Boedeker is a sports writer/award-winning blogger for the Denton Record-Chronicle. One day until spring football starts.