Wyatt Smock, senior offensive guard at St. Xavier High School, is thrilled about his last year as a Tiger and is elated about his commitment to play football at Vanderbilt University, where he plans to study business. I recently had the chance to speak with Smock to hear what excites him the most about his upcoming college career.
What made you decide to attend Vanderbilt?
“Vanderbilt was my top school, starting around April. Originally, my top school was probably Louisville. I like Louisville a lot, but when Vanderbilt came around, every time I went down there, it felt like home and it felt like family. The education is so hard to beat. When I was looking for a college, I wasn’t just looking for football, but I was also looking at the academic side, and Vanderbilt’s education is top of the line. So I really couldn’t pass this opportunity up. It was an easy decision for me.”
What impact do you look to bring to Vanderbilt’s program next season?
“A huge impact. They run a pro-style offense – the same thing that we do at St. X. They run a lot of power and a lot of counter, and the guards are always pulling; that’s one of my specialties. So I am definitely looking to make an impact as soon as I get there.”
How did the coaches at Vanderbilt influence your decision?
“It was easily the coaches that made it an easy decision. Every time I went down there, it was always a good time. Coach Norcross, the offensive line coach reminds me a lot of my dad. He’s kind of crazy, a little nutty and his coaching style is really influential. He really gets on you, and is very aggressive the way he approaches the game of football and the way he talks to his players. It felt like home.”
How has the St. X program helped to prepare you for the college ranks?
“I can’t believe I am going into my senior year at St. X. It’s gone by so fast and I have enjoyed my time so much. My brother is going to be a freshman, and it is weird to think that as well. St. X has definitely made me the man I am today. All the teachers and all the people who have influenced my life gave me advice on everything – not just my parents – but any teacher that I’ve loved throughout my four years at St. X. It’s been the best four years of my life so far.”
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from playing football at St. X?
“Toughness. Toughness is definitely key. You don’t have to be mean to be a good football player; you just have to be tough. The toughest people are put into the game at the most critical points of the game. Just grinding through practice everyday, and with two-a-days, you have to stay on you’re A-game at all times. You can’t let down one bit.”
When you graduate from St. X, what you do want to be remembered for the most?
“I definitely want to be remembered for winning the 2017 State Championship. We haven’t had it in about seven years, and it’s about time we get it again. This is a great team, and I want this team to be remembered by beating Trinity and beating everyone. It can make an impact on our legacy.”
Describe the influence that Coach Wolford has had on you.
“Coach Wolford obviously has a soft spot for the O-line being an offensive lineman himself. A lot of people joke with me about committing to Vanderbilt, to say he had all the impact in the decision, but that is not true. He wanted me to go where I wanted to go, and during my three years here, he’s always been there with us giving us extra steps and always being right there with us. He knows wherever the O-line goes, the team goes. We are the first step to a championship.”
How has Coach Wolford challenged you and brought out the best in you as a young man and as a football player?
“He pushes me everyday. He knows what my future holds, but he doesn’t want me to get a big head. It is easy to get a big head when you are so blessed with all these opportunities. You have to stay focused. I still have my senior to play, he knows this and I know this. I am not ready for college yet. I am ready to finish my last year of being a high school football athlete, so that’s the main thing.” VT