Recruit in Focus: Josh Smith
Columbia fans know we need some workhorse defensive linemen to do some heavy lifting in Coach Ferrari's 3-5-3 defense. One promising incoming frosh is Josh Smith of Forest Hills Northern HS in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Checking out his player profile I was particularly comforted to see that he likes AC/DC as his pregame "get pumped" music. For kids who went to high school in the 80's like me, it's nice to see that today's high school kids are still listening to AC/DC! (I think I just got 5 years younger).
Like some other Columbia defensive linemen of the past, Josh is also talented in the shot put and he is going to compete in the Michigan high school track meet. He's seeded 7th right now in Division 2.
Here are some of Josh's strength stats as of last summer:
Height: 6' 2 1/2"
Weight: 245 lbs.
40 time: 4.69
Bench Press: 325 lbs.
Squat: 605 lbs.
Clean: 325 lbs.
Vertical Jump: 29 "
Jerry Ford was one of the biggest stars on Michigan's 1934 National Championship squad
And speaking of Grand Rapids... the most famous native of that great town is a footballer of the past with Ivy connections who also happened to be our 38th president: Gerald R. Ford. After Ford finished an All-American undergrad career for the Wolverines, he went on to Yale Law School and worked part-time as a coach for the Yale gridders.
Jake's Take: As I've said many times on this blog, the transition from high school to college for offensive and defensive linemen is the hardest. You just never see frosh linemen making much of an impact. And if you do see them in the lineup, that's usually a sign of overall weakness for a team. Of course, there couldn't be a better team to join if you happen to be a prodigy linemen who's ready to play right away. The Columbia coaches proved many times last year that they are not biased against freshmen.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with a little player development, and Smith is coming in with good size and strength to start with. Smith comes from good football stock as his dad played at Hanover College back in the 70's when the school had a 26-game winning streak, so he has a good family support system to get him through the learning process on and off the field at Columbia. By the way, Smith's dad tells me his family was impressed by the Columbia coaches more than any other group and he had inquiries from Dartmouth, Princeton, Harvard, Penn, etc. He's also jazzed about Columbia's core curriculum which he feels allows young players to focus a lot more here than at places like Harvard, etc.
And I guess I'll be watching Smith a little more closely because I share a little bond with him as a fellow P.K., (those who know what "P.K." means will understand... by the way, it doesn't stand for "place kicker").