At Home Outdoors
After learning to hunt and fish, Smith took to bagging ball carriers
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 11, 2006 - K.C. Smith is such an outdoorsman that he was taken hunting before he was born. It was several years after that that he developed the same affinity for bringing down ball carriers.

Smith has started four of Sulphur Springs' five games this season at inside linebacker for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats, but he is being trained at other positions so coaches can utilize him in different situations.

He has practiced at defensive end and outside linebacker in addition to his usual spot.

"He's so smart and such a great kid that he can learn more than one position and give us depth. He can step in at several different positions," said defensive coordinator Steve Hale. "He brings a smile and unbelievable work ethic. He's a very unselfish football player, and that's why we want to figure out a way to get him on the field. He needs to be out there somewhere.

"He gives us the ability to play some linebacker and he's strong enough to play some defensive end."

Smith has recorded 12 tackles this season and on Friday recovered his first fumble, returning it 26 yards to set up a Sulphur Springs touchdown.

He was a back-up defensive end during spring offseason drills, but during the summer coaches saw his commitment to hard work and knew they needed to find a place for him to play. The team was so deep at defensive line, they moved him to inside linebacker.

Last year, he was an offensive lineman. But, at 6-0, 190 pounds, he was undersized for that position.

"I've always known I'm not the best athlete, but I've always thought my mind is one of my strong points," said Smith, who is vice president of the SSHS student body. "If I don't have it all physically, I've got to use my mind as a strong point, and that comes with the ability to learn and change.

"I prefer defense, but it doesn't really matter what position."

Hale knew Smith could handle the burden of learning a new position.

"He's probably one of the most versatile defensive players we have," Hale said, "and he's just real smart and works hard. He's worked himself into being a vital part of our defense. K.C. is a very disciplined kid who will do exactly what you ask him to do.

"He's just an unbelievable kid. He's the kind you want to coach."

When he's not playing football, Smith likes to hunt and fish. His mother introduced him to hunting when she was pregnant.

"I'm a real outdoorsman, that's what I do. When I'm not playing football, I hunt and fish and do whatever I can to be outside," he said. "The first time I went, my mom was three months pregnant with me. She crawled up in the deer stand with me in her stomach. My dad helped her into the deer stand and they hunted."

He has plans to parlay that love of the outdoors into a career. He'd like to attend Texas A&M and major in either wildlife or marine biology and journalism and work for an outdoor or wildlife publication.

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