WARRICK DUNN FINALIST: Shamar Smith - St. James QB
ST. JAMES, La. (WAFB) - Listed at six-foot, 190 pounds, St. James quarterback Shamar Smith packs a punch.
Watch a few clips of Smith and you notice pretty much instantly that he’s a magician with the football, so much so that he earned a nickname a while ago that stuck.
“It’s funny; we played at Donaldsonville his sophomore or junior year and the PA announcer didn’t call him Shamar anymore,” said head coach Robert Valdez. “He just called him ‘Smooth’ the whole time and I’m like, 'Can someone tell him his name?’ You know what I’m saying?”
“A lot of people ask me how I get my moves but it’s just the feel for the game,” said Smith. “It just comes to me. I don’t even know what I’m doing most of the time. And after I make the moves, I just have to make the right play.”
“He does something you can’t teach. And that’s [to] play the game with no fear,” Valdez added.
His smooth play on the field led the Wildcats all the way to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this season with a perfect 14-0 record heading into the championship game. Smith saved his best performance for last, accounting for 300 yards of total offense and five touchdowns.
“Like Val says, ‘I’m just circled in the middle of their meetings but I got a lot of guys around me.’ So, I take my hat off to my receivers, offensive line, and running backs,” Smith explained.
“He just had a calm about him, about himself, that was a little unusual because he’s always one of those guys jumping around and a lot of energy. He doesn’t say much, would rather let his play speak for itself. It’s what he’s done for us for four years,” Valdez noted.
As he prepares to play at the next level, Smith, in part, credits Valdez, along with quarterback coach Austin Howard, a former Southern Jaguars quarterback, for his mental approach to the game and how he sees the field.
“He taught me things aren’t going to always go your way but you have to go through it and see the outcome. I took a sacrifice playing quarterback and it paid off for me. Coach Austin is a great dude and he explains the game to me and how he’s seeing things, stuff he’s seen, plays he’s seen. He knows the offense in and out,” Smith explained.
In terms of the lasting memory from his prep career, hoisting that trophy takes the top spot.
“I look back at all the stuff we went through and everything paid off. Just trust the process. Like, 'Wow! We really went 15-0 and made history,” said Smith.
“He made me look smart. Guys like that will make you look real smart (laughs),” Valdez added.
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