Colton's Zemar Smith possesses a big frame and even bigger dreams
Those that have the misfortune of lining up across from Zemar Smith on the football field usually don't have much time to think about anything until they're on their back, watching him trample over them as he makes his way down the field.
At six feet tall and 220 pounds, the Colton High School senior is a force to be reckoned with. Even at the 6A level in Oregon, he'd be among the bigger backs in the state; at the 3A level, there's no questioning it.
But it's not just his size that makes him formidable: it's a combination of his speed, power, raw talent, and passion.
Anyone that has seen Smith run the football can clearly tell that he has the vision required to make big plays and turn nothing into something. Against Central Linn on Sept. 22, Smith returned a kickoff from about the 15 yard line, made multiple defenders miss as he made his way to the sideline, got hit around the 30, but showcased enough balance and control to where he was able to get another ten yards after contact by tiptoeing along the boundary up to the 40. And he made it look effortless.
Smith likes to sport a Marshawn Lynch shirt from when he was with the Seattle Seahawks, and he said he tries to model his game after the Super Bowl winner: aggressive, powerful, and shifty.
Smith is just one of the Vikings' many weapons in their offensive backfield, who all complement each other's abilities well. And while all of their offensive backs are solid, Smith boasts the highest number of yards-per-carry and is a clear weapon in short-yardage situations.
Smith has been playing football since the seventh grade; he played soccer growing up and said he wanted to try football because he liked the physicality of the game.
His time playing soccer helped him develop a skillset that was easily translated between the two games, especially the footwork and conditioning. And though Smith can do some incredible things with his body, eventually, injuries rear their ugly heads.
Smith dealt with injuries last season to his knees, including damaged menisci in both knees, which resulted in two surgeries and significant rehab. He said his preparation for this season was just as mentally demanding as it was physically.
"I kept telling myself I'm going to bounce back, I'm going to do well, and there will be no more problems with my knee after physical therapy," Smith said. "I kept reassuring myself that the team needs me, and that I'll be healthy."
But now he's back and better than ever, showing off his agility and power by running around as well as through defenders.
And though Smith did dive into his physical therapy exercises along with some additional work, he didn't talk about being a guy that lives in the weight room. Much of what you see on the field is pure, raw talent from Smith, and that means that if he decides to continue playing at the next level, his abilities will increase tenfold once college trainers put him on a strength and conditioning program.
Smith has no shortage of big dreams: he told me that plan A is to play in the league: a dream every young football player has. And after going through so much physical therapy over the past year, he said his plan B is to study to become a physical therapist.
He's being recruited by several schools, including San Jose State University (Division-I, San Jose), the University of Texas at San Antonio (Division-I, San Antonio), and Lewis & Clark College (Division-III, Portland). If Smith keeps doing what he's been doing these past couple of games and keeps his body healthy, he's got a solid shot of continuing his football career at the next level.
Catch Smith and the rest of the Vikings tonight at Blanchet Catholic and at home next week against Scio.
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
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