You hear it all the time in the sports world.
A tremendous athlete with loads of potential gets into trouble off the field and quickly heads down a slippery slope. Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith has loads of potential, and he has had off-the-field problems, but he did what others seldom do: he never slipped.
As a junior, Smith was suspended for Ohio State’s bowl game against Oklahoma State, as well as the first game of the 2005 season, because he accepted $500 from a booster. Some athletes find trouble off the field and it follows them until it eventually sinks their career.
Smith not only kept clean, but also led the Buckeyes to a national championship appearance his senior year in ‘06. Smith also won college footballs’ most prestigious award: the Heisman Trophy. Smith’s 801 first-place votes (the second most in the history of the award) resulted in a point total that was 1,662 more than Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, who finished second. Only O.J. Simpson’s 1,750-point victory in 1968 was more one-sided.
Not that Smith would ever put an individual achievement ahead of his team’s success, but his 67 percent completion rate, 30-to-five touchdown-to-interception ratio and 167.87 quarterback rating during his senior campaign were certainly something to brag about.
Recruited out of Glenville High School in Cleveland, Smith wasn’t a highly sought-after recruit. After a strong showing at a top high school quarterback workout, Smith was offered the chance to play for his home state school, Ohio State. He signed his letter of intent to play for the Buckeyes in February 2003, spurning West Virginia in the process.
As a freshman, Smith was relegated to being a backup running back and kick returner. During his sophomore year Smith returned to quarterback and won four of five games (including a 37-21 victory over archrival Michigan) for the Buckeyes after starter Justin Zwick was injured in a game against Iowa.
Then came the suspension after the ‘04 regular season, and Zwick resumed his starting role, leading the Buckeyes to an Alamo Bowl win over the Sooners and a 2005 opening day win against Miami University (Ohio).
The following game was against #2-ranked Texas in Columbus. Controversy swirled as Tressel played both Zwick and Smith in various offensive series, which eventually led to a 25-22 Longhorn victory. Smith was crowned the starter after the defeat and went on to lose just two more games throughout his collegiate career.
In the ’07 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected Smith with the last pick in the fifth round. Smith wound up playing some in his rookie year due to injuries and even guided the Ravens to a 27-27 victory over the Steelers in the final week of the season.
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Smith in Action
Information sites on Smith
Baltimore Ravens Official Player Bio: Troy Smith
Career notes, photos and stats on Troy Smith can be found at the Official Website of the Baltimore Ravens.
NFL.com Player Profile: Troy Smith
Find a small profile, game logs, stats and merchandise on Troy Smith NFL.com.
Rotoworld Player Page: Troy Smith
Rotoworld.com has some of the best fantasy reporting and advice on the web. Click on the “Previous News” tab to get current and past information on Troy Smith for your fantasy football team.
Troy Smith Wikipedia Page
Find a comprehensive background on Troy Smith’s life and football career at Wikipedia.com.
Latest on Smith
Smith bid time behind Steve McNair and Kyle Boller before injuries gave him the opportunity to play at the end of the year. In a 27-21 victory over the Steelers in Week 17, he threw for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Digging up Troy Smith on the web
Heisman translates into 174th pick for Troy Smith
Even though he dropped to the fifth round, Troy Smith was just happy he was selected by a winning franchise in the Baltimore Ravens.
Smith thrilled to put on purple
Fifth round? Who cares, Troy Smith is just happy to be a Raven.
Browns pass on Smith only to see him go to a division rival
The Cleveland Browns would have made an ideal fit for former Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith. But after drafting Brady Quinn in the first round, the Browns passed on Smith and watched him get scooped up by division rival Baltimore.
The Florida Gators ruin a dream season for Troy Smith and his Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2006 National Championship Game.
Smith looking for final exclamation point on storied career
Before losing the 2006 national championship game to Florida, Troy Smith looked back on his Ohio State career in a column from Central Ohio.com.
After suspension, Ohio St. QB becomes a leader
Troy Smith talks about how his two-game suspension during his sophomore/junior year helped build who he is today.
OSU’s Smith recovers from off the field problems
Just another article on how Troy Smith has rebounded from his mistake.
On the national championship game:
“The level of anxiety for this game is off the scale.”
On pressure to succeed:
”Pressure busts pipes -- but it can also make a diamond. I'm a diamond.”
On teaching youngsters:
“Teachers make a difference. That's all I really know. I come from a family of teachers. And I wanted to touch someone's life.”