LATE BLOOMER: Clements' Smith a Fast Riser on the Field
CLEMENTS SENIOR DEFENSIVE BACK PATRICK SMITH DIDN'T START PLAYING TACKLE FOOTBALL UNTIL THE SEVENTH GRADE. HE DIDN'T START PLAYING SAFETY UNTIL THE EIGHTH GRADE.
"A late bloomer," Smith said, laughing.
But Smith always had "it". Two years after putting on pads, he was a freshman on varsity.
"I put everything on God and my parents," Smith said. "My parents knew football was one thing I've always wanted to get better at, and they've helped me do things to get to that level."
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Smith played cornerback and safety and returned kicks last season, opening the eyes of college coaches. He totaled 44 tackles with two interceptions and had 49 receiving yards and a touchdown.
This season, he added receiver to his resume, and has 1,000 all-purpose yards through the season's first eight games (625 receiving, 234 kick return, 109 punt return) to go with 10 touchdowns (eight receiving, one rushing, one punt return). Defensively, he has 52 tackles, one fumble caused and four passes defensed.
He has 12 offers and is leaning toward Air Force, San Diego State or Lehigh.
"My dad being a safety helped out a lot when I was growing up learning the game," Smith said. "Naturally, I feel like I'm a corner but I'll adapt to whatever it takes to help the team."
Smith has always had speed, ever since he was playing kick ball and tag as a kindergartener. It's what he credits for his success. He's simply faster than whoever he's lined up against. At the TCU camp this summer, Smith hit a 4.41, 40-yard dash.
Smith worked on his defensive back and wide receiver play during the offseason, trying to perfect his craft at both. He knows the Rangers will need those two things this year, especially receiver play.
"I've been on varsity for four years," Smith said. "Freshman year, it was let's at least get one win. Sophomore year, it was OK, let's get at least two.
"This year, now it's about expecting wins. In my opinion, we have what it takes to be a playoff team, and we need to expect to make the playoffs."
Clements is 6-2 so far this season.
"The biggest thing is mental," Smith said "I feel like there's never really been a team that's really beat us. A lot of the time, we beat ourselves. We have to get over that mental hump. We have to have leaders. We have to have a mentality to win."
This story appeared in the Inaugural VYPE Fort Bend ISD Fall Edition, which is now available to pick up at your local Fort Bend ISD High Schools.