Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Dec. 4. Below are some personal choices for that honor by SI writers.
11/15/2006 03:44:00 PM
My Sportsman: Troy Smith
With QB Troy Smith under center, Ohio State hasn't lost a game since Oct. 8, 2005.
By Cory McCartney
He took a step forward in the pocket then took a quick step back before breaking to his right. With Penn State's Tim Shaw closing in, he spun away before launching a bomb from his own 47-yard-line. ...
This is Troy Smith. This is my Sportsman.
The play, which came in the Buckeyes' 28-6 over the Nittany Lions in September, seemed to symbolize the arc of the Ohio State quarterback's last year. He has had to run, to dodge his own self-inflicted adversity.
He has risen from being suspended for taking $500 from a booster to become the frontrunner in the Heisman race.
He has morphed from an erratic run-first signal caller to a lethal passer who is one of the nation's leaders in passing efficiency.
Smith has become a full-blown leader, at the helm of a team that has the nation's longest winning streak. Ohio State hasn't lost a game since Oct. 8, 2005.
His honed his game in the offseason, religiously studying film, though it often meant making house calls.
After spring practices ended, he told the coaches he wanted to learn everything about the offense. He went to the homes of quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels, who learned he had cancer after going to a hospital for heart trouble, and offensive coordinator Jim Bollman, who was recovering form heart bypass surgery.
It was a show of dedication, not only of the fifth-year senior's desire to learn every aspect of the Buckeyes' attack, but to the coaches who believed the player who entered Ohio State as an "athlete" could become a Big Ten quarterback.
On the Ohio Stadium field, with the Penn State defense pressing, Smith fired that ball from near midfield. As if on a string it in fell into the middle of the end zone, hitting the outstretched hands of wide receiver Brian Robiskie.
The old Troy Smith would have pulled the ball in and run. But the new Troy Smith has become so much more.
Give me a break...the guy is a cheater. Any reputable program would have kicked this man out when they found out he was on the take. And, btw...Troy Smith had a terrible game at Penn State: 12 for 22, 1 TD, 2INTs, 115 total yards (this means that half of his yardage came on that one pass), and a 92.5 passer rating Quit acting like this guy is the best thing ever.
Troy Smith's maturation has been an incredible thing to watch. He started his career at Ohio State not knowing where he'd play. Now he's a heisman candidate at the most prestigious position on the football field. He's done it through hard work, perserverance, and great work ethic. The highly touted recruit from the class he came in with was Justin Zwick. He's now the 2nd string quarterback, and he'd be starting almost anywhere else. But Smith has become an unreal player, and an awesome passer. He deserves all the credit and any award he might be up for
Before his trouble at Ohio State, Smith was kicked off his high school basketball team after sucker-punching another player during a game. He transferred schools to avoid expulsion. I'm glad the guy has turned things around and become a hige success, but Sportsman of the Year? Please. There are plenty of more deserving players in college football, let alone all of sports.
Vince Young? pshhhh you wish! Troy Smith is gonna lead the Buckeyes to victory on Saturday and there will be no question about the number one team in the country,and who's getting the Heisman! Troy has changed drastically: for the better, and and deserves this award. So don't even talk about him being a cheater...he's not, and is soon going to be regarded as the greatest OSU QB ever.
Troy Smith has matured immensley as a QB and as a person. He is calm, cool, and collected on and off the field. He really understands the game and what it takes to succeed. Maybe getting in trouble with that booster is the best thing that happened to Troy Smith. Realizing that the opportunity of a lifetime could have been thrown away from a stupid mistake must be a humbling experience. If Troy Smith has been the front runner for heisman the entire year, I think it is fair to say that he is Sportsman of the Year.
"Sportsman" implies a lot more than just a good athlete. It implies a good, clean, worthy person as well. According to dictionary.com: "sportsman: a person who exhibits qualities especially esteemed in those who engage in sports, as fairness, courtesy, good temper, etc." I'm going to guess that taking several hundred dollars (and this is what people were able to prove...he probably took more), and being kicked out of your high school for sucker-punching someone are not "sportsman"-like conduct. Who would want his kid to model Smith's "sportsman"-like behavior?
I played against Troy Smith the year he got into it with an opposing basketball player. His maturation from that point, as a 15 or 16 year-old high school sophomore, to now, as a 5th-year senior, is astounding. He has leveled his head out, become calmer, more collected, and more responsible, and appears to improve each week. He is a true credit to his own hard work and to Jim Tressel's teaching. All the best to Troy. Love how he reps Cleveland all the time, too. Go Bucks!
By all accounts, this guy has made great strides maturity-wise over the last couple of years. Given the current state of amateur athletics, I would challenge you to find any program that would give a player the boot for taking $500; and in a discussion about Sportsman of the Year 2006, the relevance of an incident that occurred in the 1998 - 2000 range is iffy at best. I don't approve of or condone Smith's past indiscretions; however, if someone admits his mistakes and makes a conscious effort to move forward in a positive way, he deserves a shot at redemption at some point. Seems to me that anyone who would totally write off someone forever based on two relatively minor incidents - one occurring when he was in high school and another when he was a sophomore in college - better be a flawless human being themself. Troy Smith may not always have the eye-popping stats or make the highlight-reel play, but he has worked hard to change his game in order to give his team the best chance to win and there is not a better clutch player in all of college football. For those reasons, he is as deserving of the title Sportsman as anyone in the game.
Anyone who has cheated as Troy Smith has, should be written off forever for "sportsman" of the year. I'm not saying that I don't appreciate the fact that he has made an effort to remedy his past errors, but there are many more players out there who have demonstrated their commitment to sportsmanship by maintaining a clean record.
The thing missing from this article is the amount of class that Troy Smith has displayed this year. Just listen to any interview he's done this year. He always talks about how great his teammates are. How great his coaches are. How the win in Texas wasn't for revenge...just part of their goals. I haven't heard him say anything negative all year. And it's unbelievable how much he leads...and his teammates follow. $500 from a booster is nothing in the world of big time college football compared to his maturation of the last couple years.