Smith thriving as collegiate WR

Friends, new foes set for district game
October 14, 2015
TEDA set to move from Terrebonne government
October 14, 2015
Friends, new foes set for district game
October 14, 2015
TEDA set to move from Terrebonne government
October 14, 2015

Less than a year ago, South Terrebonne graduate Trevon Smith thought that he was finished with football.

“I was ready to come home, attend Nicholls and walk away from everything besides my education,” Smith said.

But as fate would have it, those thoughts never became reality. Today, Smith is back on the field and is a budding collegiate wide receiver – one of the elite, go-to playmakers in the Great American Conference.

Through six games, Smith, a junior, has been instant offense for the University of Arkansas-Monticello, racking up 16 catches, five touchdowns and 367 yards through the air for his team.

The former Gators great quarterback said the past few months have been a blessing, and he’s learned to cherish the game of football more than he ever has before because of just how close he was to walking away and hanging up his pads for good.

“I’m having a pretty good season. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given,” Smith said. “I’m one of our go-to receivers here at Arkansas-Monticello, and there’s nothing better than that. I’m loving it. You can’t ask for anything more. I’ve come a long way to get here, and I’m cherishing every second and every step.”

Smith’s path to Arkansas is one that almost never happened.

A 6-foot, 3-inch, 180-pound standout in high school, Smith was a multi-year starter at quarterback for the Gators at a time when the team enjoyed marked success.

Smith led the Gators to a 9-3 season as a senior in the 2011 season – a year which included the team’s first playoff win since 2005. As a senior, Smith was a dual threat. He passed for more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a runner, he was lethal as well, rushing for 12 more touchdowns.

“He’s a great leader for us,” South Terrebonne coach Richard Curlin said in Smith’s senior season. “The younger players look up to him, and he’s a playmaker who can do special things out there when he’s on the field. We’re glad that he’s on our side and in our huddle.”

Smith was recruited by Division-I programs, but couldn’t sign with any because of academic eligibility issues. Because of that, he signed with East Mississippi Community College in the Spring of 2012 – just months before his high school graduation.

He was recruited as a quarterback.

It never worked out.

Smith said he holds no ill toward East Mississippi Community College, but his stay there was short. He said he returned home quickly to take care of what he called “personal problems” at home.

“There were just some things personally that I needed to take care of with my family at home,” Smith said. “So I ended up having to come back.”

After that first opportunity didn’t go as planned, Smith transferred to Grambling. While there, the Tigers coaches changed his position from quarterback to receiver – a move that took some adjusting, and that Smith is still getting used to today.

“I was never a receiver in my life,” Smith said. “As a kid growing up, in high school – everything – I was always a quarterback. So I had to learn everything from scratch, and it’s a big difference between the two positions.

“I worked at it at Grambling for a whole year, really. I started at the basics and I just picked up everything that I could.”

Smith was a member of the team at Grambling for the past few seasons, but he never played in a game. He left the school after the 2014 season citing an issue with his scholarship.

At that time, he moved home and had eyes on finishing up his degree at Nicholls. Smith is a criminal justice major who hopes to either chase a career in law post-grad or work as a detective.

“In my mind, I was going to quit playing ball and just be content to get my education at Nicholls right at home,” Smith said. “I never expected to still be wearing a helmet and pads after I left Grambling.”

Smith’s path to Arkansas-Monticello came after the school’s coaches called him and invited him to a workout.

“They wanted to see how I played receiver,” Smith said. “Truth be told, I honestly didn’t think much of it at the time.”

But Smith showed up to the workout and thrived. Before he left, Boll Weevils coach Hud Jackson, who coincidentally enough is an E.D. White graduate, pulled him aside and the two shared a conversation that Smith won’t ever forget.

“They offered me a nice scholarship,” Smith said. “And just like that, I was all-in on football again, and I was on my way to playing for Arkansas-Monticello.”

So that brings us to the present – once in which Smith is enjoying his first-ever season on the field as a college student-athlete.

When one takes a peek at the stat sheets, it’s easy to see that Smith is making the most of the situation.

In his first-ever collegiate game, the former Gator snagged two receptions for 33 yards in Arkansas-Monticello’s season-opener against Northwestern Oklahoma.

Nine days later in the team’s second game, Smith broke out, recording 183 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.

Since then, he’s continued that success and has emerged as a playmaker in the team’s offense.

“He’s a fast learner,” Jackson said. “He’s come in and has picked up on things right away. He’s been a nice addition for us.”

Smith said as the season progresses, he wants to continue to grow into his role. He said that because his experience as a receiver is limited, he needs to work toward becoming a better blocker and route-runner.

But just being able to compete on the field again is enough to make Smith content about the situation. He said that he never thought his career would take him to Arkansas, but he’s glad that it did, calling it one of the biggest and best breaks he’s ever gotten in his life.

“If someone would have told me when I graduated from South Terrebonne that I’d be a college wide receiver and not a quarterback and that I’d be playing here for this team, I’d have never believed it,” Smith said. “But I’m enjoying the opportunity and I’m grateful to be here. I just want to keep working hard and getting better so I can help my teammates in every way that I can.

“For me, the chance to do that is great – it’s a feeling that is hard to explain.”

Tre Smith