Meet Joshua Smith the former wide receiver turned safety from Withrow high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Joshua is now a solid 6' 2" and 190 lbs. and self reports a 4.5 forty but says Withrow does not emphasize forty times. What Joshua emphasizes is delivering the "Big Hit" on opposing receivers and running backs. The size and the speed are ideal for playing at the major level but it was the hard hitting reputation Joshua earned that had major schools interested in his services.
Schools like Michigan State, Tennessee, Miami University, Indiana, Western Michigan, Ohio University, Eastern Michigan, Louisville and Toledo either offered or were showing strong interest in Joshua's services. Joshua told the BallStateInsider.com that he had already taken several official visits early in the process but knew Ball State was where he wanted to play his college football just one day into his official visit on January 11th. "My folks were having dinner with me, the other prospects and Ball State Coaches on Saturday night when I turned to my parents and told them this was where I wanted to play for the next four years" Josh explained. My parents gave me their support and later told me they were very happy with my decision as they really liked evey aspect of the campus environment, academics, academic support and of course the football program as well.
"I really liked the campus, the football facilities, the players I met and the Coaches especially Coach Hoke" Joshua said. Coach Hoke is from SW Ohio and has a good reputation as a player and a Coach in many circles but especially in my part of the state. I spent time with Trey Buice who was my host from Stone Mountain, Georgia a suburb of Atlanta who is a junior DB and he gave me a lot of insight. Dante Love from my high school came and picked me up Saturday morning and spent time with me out at the stadium and talked to me about what a great experience he was having and how he really liked the school academically, its campus and the fairness of the program Coach Hoke has installed since coming to Ball State.
Not lost on Joshua was the fact that Ball State not only plays in a good league in the Mid American Conference but that they play an outstanding out of conference schedule. "The MAC is a tough conference but when you throw in the likes of Nebraska, Navy, Illinois and Indiana you have a very competitive schedule against some of the best players in the nation - I really liked that" Josh said. It was not just this year either as they played the likes of Michigan, Iowa, Purdue, Boston College, Auburn and Missouri in recent years as well. I also noticed all the television exposure Ball State receives and got to watch their games with Navy, Illinois, Indiana and was at the nationally televised game against Toledo with my high school Coach. I also watched them play a very talented Rutgers team in the International Bowl up in Toronto and the thought of having that experience and playing in a major college bowl game would be terrific Josh stated. I also have family living in Indianapolis so Muncie is just up the road from there and everyone will be able to come and see me play with out much trouble.
Josh said it really came down to the fact that Ball State had every thing I wanted in a major college football program - academics with solid player support, program on the rise, national exposure, competitive conference and great non conference schedule, nice facilities, beautiful campus and a chance to play and improve early if I work really hard which I fully intend to do. I looked at all the opportunities that Dante Love has had at Ball State and how well he has done and how bright his future is and I want to work hard and earn the same for myself with the help of some great Coaches. I cancelled my remaining official visits and am very happy with my decision and can not wait to get to campus this summer and start working out with my new team!
The BallStateInsider.com will keep a close eye on Joshua Smith and his development as a major college football player over the next four or five years and we have a feeling he is going to become a "Big Hit" with the students, alumni and fans at Ball State.