Steve Smith Filling Some Big Shoes

Oct. 7, 2004

by Summer Harrison, USC student assistant

USC wide receiver Steve Smith isn't intimidated by any challenges on the football field.

Any Trojan football fans who were unaware that the 6-foot-1, 195-pound sophomore was more than just a smooth runner took notice of his physical ability when the Los Angeles Times featured No. 2 on the front page on Sept. 26. A large color photograph showed Smith with the football cradled in his left arm while he stiff-armed a defender with his right after a key third-quarter reception in USC's come-from-behind victory at Stanford.

Smith, the No. 3 wide receiver off the Trojan bench during the 2003 season, is now a starter and a vital part of the USC offense.

'We lost two big time receivers,' Smith said, referring to former USC pass catchers Mike Williams and Keary Colbert. 'But I don't feel any pressure (replacing them). They're them and I'm me.'

Smith is a focused player who aspires to become anything but ordinary. 'I want to be like the great players at USC,' he said. 'I want to help us win and leave a great legacy.'.

He is certainly headed in that direction. He played an impressive 12 of 13 games during his freshman year at USC, catching 17 passes for 319 yards with two touchdowns. In the Pac-10 finale against Oregon State, he had five receptions for 136 yards.

He has become a stalwart in 2004 with a team-high 25 receptions for 338 yards and two scores, already surpassing his freshman numbers for catches and yards.

'I'm focused,' Smith explains. 'I just want to take it day by day. I want to perfect every day.'

Smith had an outstanding football career at Taft High in Canoga Park, Calif., where he received dozens of awards and accolades for football, receiving 2002 Parade All American honors and being named Cal-Hi Sports All-State Wide Receiver MVP. Smith's athletic ability was not limited to the football field. He was also a highly merited guard on the Taft basketball team and ran the100-meter sprint in track. Smith's athleticism became somewhat of a legend and he was reported to have also competed in volleyball and swimming at Taft by local newspaper.

'How could I have done that?' Smith laughed. 'They're all during the same season!'

Still, the Trojan receiver is nonchalant about his natural athletic ability, stating: 'Your high school slate is done once you get to college no matter how good you were. Everybody is good in college.'

Born on an Air Force Base in Alaska, but raised in Southern California most of his life,

Smith admits he cheered against USC football until he was in high school, stating, 'I just didn't like them.'

However, Smith chose to attend USC because of he was impressed by its history and great tradition and said he is pleased with the outcome of his decision for a reason close to his heart.

'I'm glad I'm here, near my family.' Smith said. 'My family is important. My mom, I just want to see her happy and do well for her and her future.'

As for his future, the sophomore isn't sure what he would like to do.

'I'm undecided,' he said. 'I like theater. I wanted to be a movie director for some reason. I don't know anymore now. I'm just wide open right now ... I just want to be happy and keep God in my life.'

While he may be undecided about his future, Smith knows exactly what he wants on the field and has set his goals high.

'I expect greatness,' he said. 'I expect to win a national championship and go undefeated.'

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