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Behind the Facemask: Andrew Smith

Behind the Facemask: Andrew Smith

July 22, 2011


CORAL GABLES, Fla.–No dream comes true without sacrifice and these young men have worked to make their dream of playing at the U come true. Here are the men behind the sacrifice…

Andrew Smith | Defensive Line | Senior | Coconut Creek, Fla.

When I think of the U, I think of family, tradition and upholding the legacy.

Competition is what keeps us going. I think competition is better for everybody. It makes everybody better, and it makes everybody go hard.

Playing football has given me an opportunity to grow as a person, grow as a man and has generally made me a better person. I could have been anywhere else, but football kept me on track and kept me going.

When I was six years old, I was living in Jamaica with my mom. I was always playing, living life carefree and not worrying about anything. That’s all I really remember. I moved to Florida in third or fourth grade with my older brother and my mom.

The Golden Era is a whole different experience, from having responsibility to handling business in general. Coach Golden came in and instilled unity, teamwork and passion.  I think it gives us an opportunity as a team to come together and work for one goal.

Coach Franklin is all about energy. He always makes you feel ready to go out there and just start playing.

I’ll never forget the emotions I had, especially my mom, when I first signed and got a scholarship to play college football. There were tears of joy from her, she was really happy. It’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do as a child, make my mom proud. I’ll never forget her face when I signed with the University of Miami. I knew I couldn’t leave Florida; I had to stay close to home.

The hardest part of football and life in general is having ups and downs. You have to keep your mind right, stay focused, and cut off all distractions.

Family is a huge deal to me. Family’s always going to be there for you, no matter what you go through. I think as a person, and as a man, family is a big part of your life. My family helped me get through a lot, especially my mom. Having a strong family bond, you can get through anything with your family.

When I played football as a kid, I was always an athlete. I would play running back, receiver, I would play all the skill positions. When I was on the field, I wouldn’t let anything stop on me. After putting on weight and getting bigger, I ended up on the line. I’ve always been a bigger kid, but when I was younger I was always trying to lose weight to stay playing skill positions.

I was raised with good values instilled in me as a young child. I was raised with a lot of responsibilities and with manners. It was always “yes sir,” “yes ma’am,” and “thank you.” That’s one thing my mom always instilled in me, that I always had to have respect. You have to give respect to earn it.

We are all family at the U. That’s one thing, since I’ve been here, that has been preached.  Unity and coming together.

At the U, I’ve learned so much from Coach Swasey. Every day, he’ll talk about real life. He always talks from his learning experiences.  I think out of everything he says, you’ll always find some little thing to keep in mind. He always tries to keep us on the right track, and never tells you anything bad. If you actually listen to him, you’ll learn a lot.

I secretly wish that I played receiver or quarterback.

I didn’t think I would learn so much from the University of Miami, and just football in general over these four years. If you really want to make it, it’ll take a lot out of you. I didn’t think, when I was a child watching everyone play, about the work you have to put in to do it. It’s something you love, which keeps your drive going. I’ve learned a lot about responsibility, and a lot of things that made me the person I am today. Everything I learned will help make me a good worker, a good husband, a good father, and just a good person in general.

People might be surprised to know I’m a music junkie. I listen to every type of music. I don’t discriminate. If it’s good, I’ll listen to it.

The most influential person in my life is my mom. Growing up, all I can remember, I’ve never seen her not working. She always told me whatever I want, I had to put in the time. Living in Jamaica, we came from pretty much nothing. She never settled, she always wanted better for me and my brother. We came to Florida and started over, and ever since we came here, she kept working. She always kept us comfortable just to make me and my brother happy. It’s always influenced me to keep going.

Make sure to check in for a new Behind the Facemask profile each and everyday in preparation for the Hurricane football season opener. For a review of all past profiles, check out Behind the Facemask Central.