Posted: Feb 18, 2013 3:46 PM by Alan Cutler
Talent can mean very little without the desire. When you have both at a high level, special is the word. On the surface, Za'Darius Smith, who was a basketball player in high school until a football coach suggested his wide shoulders would be better suited for football, has both.
"God had this in store for me to play football, but it came to me at the last minute, to know that I had the opportunity to be successful in football," said Smith.
With pride, the 6-foot-5 1/2 inch 260 pounder will tell you he has his junior college degree in Career leadership and development. With a smile, the top defensive end prospect coming out of junior college, who was being recruitied by Florida State until the road turned to Lexington, talks about sacking the quarterback.
"Just get this big energy man, like oh, I just won a million dollars Oh, it's great, it's a great feeling. Sacking the quarterback. That's my job. So me getting a sack means me going fulltime or overtime in my job," Smith says with a smile.
He doesn't just expect to play, he expects to be a star. All-SEC, 13 sacks is the number he threw out there, and be a leader.
"Just by example. Just on the field, taking care of business. No playing around. No smiling. No joking once I step between the lines."
UK hasn't been blessed with great pass rushers. Alvin Dupree could be a star next year. If Smith follows suit, it's a huge change in UK's soft defense from last season.