• John Macon Gillespie

Nickhlous Smith Anxious To Show Off His Skills At The Fortius Project

Cleveland high and East Side high are set to consolidate. There is sure to be an adjustment, but in the end it should prove to be best for all parties involved. At least on the gridiron, according to former Cleveland linebacker Nickhlous Smith.

The rising senior feels that East Side’s returning starters on the offensive side will solidify that unit, while many of the defensive starters will be former Wildcats.

“We’re going to win a lot of ball games once we come together,” Smith told SES Mississippi. “We’re going to have a great season, we both have talented players.”

“First off there will be a lot of adversity. It won’t be easy, but we will try to get along.”

Additionally, Smith has high expectations for himself next fall. He wants to record more than 10 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and three interceptions. Away from the field, he’s also shooting to earn at least two D1 scholarship offers. However, he does have one goal that stands above the others.

“My team goal is to win the championship and bond together as one,” he said.

Wearing the same uniform a some of the 2016 East Side players will be different. After all, just last season he was on the other side and desperately wanted to beat those guys. In fact, his best football memory came in a contest versus East Side last season.

“When we played East(Side) I made the running back fumble, and I recovered it,” Smith explained. “The crowd went wild.”

Now with the offseason in full swing the talented outside linebacker is being driven by the shortcomings he experienced in 2016.

“We had a good season. We made it to the second round, but we fell short against Amory,” he noted.

In his pursuit to get improve, he has decided to attend the Fortius Project. He will compete against some of the top players in the Magnolia state at ICC on February 25th. He’s just looking to showcase what he’s all about.

“I want to get my name out there to coaches,” Smith said. “I want to show everyone what I can bring to the table and how good of a player I am. I want to compete with others from across Mississippi.”

What he thinks people will see when they evaluate him is versatility. He is the complete package at linebacker. That’s what he intends to show at Fortius.

“I offer many things,” Smith explained. “Such as the ability to cover, the ability to be quick, the ability to tackle, the ability to make big plays and the ability to outwork my peers.”

Don’t think he’s settling with the cards he already holds, though. The offseason is a critical time for him to make improvements, as well.

“I want to better my ability to break down and make the tackle and the ability to consistently get off blocks. I’m working on getting faster and quicker,” Smith said.

**Photo courtesy of Andy Collier, Bolivar Commercial

#JohnLukeMcCord #Cleaveland

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