RB wants to be 'ultimate teammate'

OU signee David Smith hopes his new 'brothers' can be an extended family

Updated: July 3, 2012, 12:26 AM ET
By Bob Przybylo | SoonerNation

There is no way of knowing how a recruit is going to fit into a system. Not just on the field but off the field, too.

But there might be an exception with three-star running back David Smith (Midlothian, Ill./Bremen). One conversation with him and you can tell that he puts others before himself. His team-first mentality has made him a favorite among Oklahoma fans since he signed with the Sooners on Feb. 1.

"You can tell how much he wants it and that he's willing to do anything just to be a part of the team," said wide receiver signee Sterling Shepard.

David Smith
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comRunning back David Smith is one of the few prospects OU has signed from Illinois.
Funny how fast things can change because on Nov. 1 nobody outside of the OU coaching staff was even mentioning Smith's name as a possible Sooners target.

But Smith never gave up hope that Norman, Okla., could be his home. Smith emailed OU running backs coach Cale Gundy on March 2, 2010, simply asking to receive a look from the Sooners.

And though quality programs like West Virginia, Cincinnati, Purdue and Boston College were on the his short list, things changed dramatically when OU entered the picture in December.

Smith understands things won't always be easy at OU, but he is confident that his offseason training has prepared him for college.

He was a member of the Core 6 Athletes, LLC, out of Deerfield, Ill. Core 6 is an athletic training and recruiting organization for athletes in the Midwest. It was founded by former Indiana linebacker Paul Szczesny.

"He came one day and saw me and asked if I would be interested in it. Of course I was," Smith said. "It was training I haven't done before, and I know it has helped my overall game. I'm a lot faster and a lot more flexible."

The Sooners have their sights set on another Core 6 product in the 2013 class in ESPN 150 wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee).

OU is fighting an uphill battle with Treadwell as it appears Michigan has the lead in the race. But don't count out Smith's influence. If there's one thing Smith stresses, it's family. Treadwell is like family to Smith, who would love to have him join his new family at OU.

"At my high school, the one thing we preached more than anything was family, family, family," Smith said. "I'm from Illinois so I don't know a lot of the OU players, but I want to so I do everything I can to find out what their life is like. We're all working for the same common goal."

After national signing day, Smith went to work learning about his future teammates. He admits he might have come off like a crazed fan, but he didn't care because these were his "brothers."

He started on Twitter and Facebook and couldn't believe that some of his future teammates were coming from California and Florida and all over the country. It worked, though, because the fellow signees have developed the rapport with Smith that he craved.

When running back Daniel Brooks tore his ACL at a track meet, one of the first calls to his fellow signee was from Smith.

"I want to be that ultimate teammate. Off the field, you have to have that bond with your teammates," Smith said. "When it's good, it's easy to be that way. But when things are bad, that's when you have to show how much you care the most. I just wanted Daniel to know we were all thinking about him."

It's unclear how Smith will fit in with the Sooners in 2012 at running back. Smith, who is known for his speed, is not concerned about that. He wants a spot, obviously, but he is ready to do whatever is asked of him just like he has always done.

"I'm ready for this challenge," Smith said. "I'm living almost 12 hours away from home, and I want to represent my area. It's time for me to start my life. I've wanted this opportunity. Now I have it and now it's up to me what I do with it."

Bob Przybylo | email

Reporter, RecruitingNation