Nathan Smith couldn’t imagine August without the smell of sweaty shoulder pads. Thanks to his intuition, the former Alma lineman got his wish.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for Nathan, but he said to me a long time ago that he wanted to play college football,” Alma coach Rusty Bush said. “What a tribute to him for staying on the course.”
“It’s what I’ve wanted to do my whole life,” Smith said. “For this to happen, it’s mind-blowing.”
The versatile Smith signed a letter of intent with Missouri State Southern in Joplin.
“The offers didn’t come in January or February, but he continued to work out and do his thing, and understood that if an opportunity came up, he would be ready,” Bush said.
Two weeks ago, Smith drove to Joplin to take part in a Missouri State Southern football camp. He did enough to sway coaches.
“It was so last minute, I had already gone away from that (playing at the next level) a little bit,” Smith said. “Then I saw they had a camp and I thought, ‘I might as well go up there and see what happens.’
“I went up there and showed out and he (coach) really liked me.”
“Being able to get in front of those coaches, he proved himself,” Bush said. “Being a big kid, he did a good job of snapping the ball. That’s the proudest thing for me, that even after the February signing day, I’ll keep my goals intact and whatever happens happens.
“He stayed the course.”
Smith did a little bit of everything for the Airedales’ offensive line, including snapping the ball.
“I learned from a man named Torrence Cummings,” Smith said. “He taught me in the fifth grade how to snap. I don’t think if I hadn’t learned, I would be doing what I’m doing now.”