How Far Can Smith Lead The Cougars?
Northwest Rankin is attacking the summer as if they are hungry for something. They don’t seem content with simply improving their 7-5 record from a season ago. They have a bigger goal in mind…win it all!
If they plan to hoist the big golden football above their heads at the end of the 2016 season, they will need their star quarterback to carry them there. Braden Smith is entering his senior season and is more than capable of taking the Cougars all the way.
This summer Smith and the Cougars are putting in the work they need to do in order to have them ready to roll when the lights come on this fall.
"It's going well," Smith told SES Mississippi. "We are doing a lot of working out and preparing for the season. I'm just working on developing more as a quarterback, such as footwork, working on my timing, and going through my progressions quickly."
Smith is considered one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the state. His ability to hurt defenses with his legs is right up there with Clinton’s Cam Akers and Hernando’s Robert Wilcke. Smith says that running have always been on the front of his mind but is seeing that change this summer.
"Well the past two years I utilized my running ability a lot and definitely thought run first," Smith explained. "This year, I've been working a lot on developing as a passer so I feel that this year will definitely be pass first."
Smith says his game is influenced by a Super Bowl quarterback.
"Definitely Russell Wilson," Smith declared. "He really made me realize that you can be under 6 foot and be a successful quarterback, which has helped me a lot with my game."
Smith says he is constantly working on improving his game and the possibility of where his game can take him is what drives him to push as hard as he does.
"The thought of playing at the collegiate or the professional level pushes me to work hard everyday," Smith expressed. "I know that the only way to make it there is to work harder than everyone around you, so that's what motivates me to work hard."
Smith can do a little bit of everything with the ball in his hands, however, he says that being a senior and a quarterback comes with more responsibilities than just scoring touchdowns.
"My job is to be a leader," Smith said. "Being a quarterback brings upon big responsibilities and I think my job as a quarterback is to lead my team on the field and make the right decisions off the field."
**Photo by Keith Warren of the MHSAA.