The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local Sports

April 17, 2014

North Stanly's T.J. Smith receives offer to play football at Dartmouth

Thursday, April 17, 2014 — It was last spring when North Stanly head coach Ralph Jackson was approached by a student who wanted more than anything to become a Divsion. I collegiate football player.

A year later, the recruting process for 6-foot-3 1/2 junior defensive lineman T.J. Smith is in full swing, including receiving his first offer to play football at the collegiate level.

Dartmouth College, out of the Ivy League, made an offer to Smith to play football for the Big Green at the Football Championship Series level.

“I’m very thankful,” Smith said about the offer.

“I thank God that I could achieve that. I had talked to their coach about a month-and-a-half ago. He said that he loved what I could do on film.”

The offer came via Jackson’s voicemail at North Stanly.

“T.J. came to us last spring at 215 pounds,” Jackson said.

“He has gone through the process, working in the weight room, and he is getting stronger and faster. For a solid year, we have worked on his athleticism and now he is up to 245 pounds.”

Smith said that Jackson approached him about switching from basketball to football as early as near the end of his fifth grade year.

“Coach told me that I had God-given size and ability and that I needed to be on the football field,” Smith said.

“I put my talents there and worked my butt off. He told me if I did what he said that I would be successful. With a lot of prayer and guidance from my coaches and teachers, I am where I am at now.”

A number of schools have shown interest in the Comet defensive lineman, including UNC, N.C. State, Arkansas, Auburn, UNC-Charlotte, North Carolina A&T, Duke and Clemson.

Smith  talked about leaving the basketball world behind for football and what it feels like to be recruited for D-I football.

“It makes me feel great,” Smith said.

“In the basketball realm, it was not like that at all. I was not looked at and did not have the height. To move to something else and for my stature to be praised is great. I loved the looks I was getting and it helped me fall in love with football.”

Smith plans on graduating early next season in order to attend school in the spring of 2015, so the rising senior said that he plans to announce his commitment sometime in the 2014 high school football season.

In preparing for next season, Smith, along with a number of Comet players, meet every day in the weight room at 5 a.m. to work out.

Those preparations, according to Smith, are more about the team’s efforts next season than his own college recruiting status.

“Team comes first before all this stuff,” Smith said referring to recruiting.

“It’s all mental. This whole offseason is building mental toughness, and how close we can come together as a team in a short time to be successful.”

The Comets’ head coach talked about Smith’s preparations in the offseason, along with another D-I prospect, North running back Antonio Williams, who is verbally committed to UNC-Chapel Hill.

“Up here at North Stanly, what we do is get guys to understand a work ethic,” Jackson said.

“T.J. is here from 5-6:30 a.m. working out every morning. Antonio is there, and so is Nick Chandler, Austin Parker, Joey Clark and all of them in the morning session group. He (T.J.) believes what I have been preaching. He and Antonio are two special individuals.”

Regarding the workouts, Jackson said, “We work like it’s daylight.”

To submit story ideas, contact Charles Curcio at (704) 982-2121, ext. 26, or email charles@stanlynewspress.com.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • holdendavis.jpg Stanly All-Star 15 year-olds lose in championship finals

    The Stanly County 15 year-old All-Stars Babe Ruth Baseball team battled its way through the losers’ bracket after suffering a 10-9 loss to the Union County Americans to reach the championship finals.
    Stanly rallied to force a deciding third game but Union County prevailed to earn a trip to the regionals in Varina, Virginia.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • stanly14group.jpg Stanly All-Stars reach state championship round

    The Stanly 14 year-old All-Stars played in the state tournament this weekend at Noel Williams Park in Unionville and reached the championship round of play.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • stanly13bigger.jpg Stanly County 13-year old Babe Ruth Baseball squad claims state title

    Don Montgomery Park in Albemarle played host this weekend to the state championship tournament for the Western Divsion of Babe Ruth Baseball for 13 year olds.
    After having started with a win Friday night over Union County American, the Stanly County All-Stars posted three more victories en route to the tournament title and a berth into the regionals starting July 29 in Sarasota, Florida.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • West Stanly summer baseball team wraps up regular season at Scotland County

    In the final two games of the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League for the West Stanly squad, the Colts traveled to Scotland County for a doubleheader, making up for Tuesday’s rainout.

    July 22, 2014

  • jakeclayton.jpg Three Stanly All-Star Babe Ruth teams open play in state tournaments

    Three Babe Ruth Baseball teams from Stanly County  began play in their respective state tournaments on Friday night with victories, two of which came in events conducted locally.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Albemarle High School athletic director resigns

    The athletic program at Albemarle High School will undergo another change in personnel after the recent resignation of its head football coach.

    July 17, 2014

  • deanlowder.jpg Albemarle fireman and policeman race in school buses at Charlotte Motor Speedway

    Pulling into Charlotte Motor Speedway, the first thing one may think about is getting in one of those really fast cars and taking a spin around the track.
    Cracking the motor, hearing the roar, tearing down the front stretch at 200 mph with numerous other cars doing the same. The rush, excitement and adrenaline pumping all while maintaining focus and poise as you power the aggressive vehicle around the track.

    July 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • williams.jpg North Stanly's Antonio Williams decommits to UNC-Chapel Hill

    North Stanly standout running back Antonio Williams announced via Twitter on Saturday he has withdrawn his verbal committment to attend and play football at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bobcat.jpg Uwharrie Bobcats suffer loss, bounce back for home victory

    The Uwharrie Bobcats 70+ slow pitch softball team, along with four other Piedmont Senior Slow Pitch League (PSSL) teams, participated in a league tournament at Rock Creek Park Saturday.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • curciomug2014.jpg Can you really go home again?

    The big news that flashed across the screens of smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers and televisions on Friday concerned the return of NBA star Lebron James to Cleveland after four years in Miami.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content