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Alabama A&M wide receiver Montaurius Smith has gone from redshirt to red hot
Be it on a second-and-23 to change the course of a wayward drive and eventually set up a score while the game’s still in contention or on a deep ball for a touchdown to start to another rout, Alabama A&M quarterback Deaunte Mason knows he can count on sophomore wide receiver Montaurius Smith.
Both of those catches came during Alabama A&M’s 35-0 victory at Mississippi Valley State this past weekend. The 6-foot, 170-pounder, who finished the game with a team-high five catches for 91 yards, has gone from being redshirted as a freshman in 2010 to a red hot option on a 2012 team which is undefeated, heading into its homecoming game against Alcorn State Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Birmingham native leads A&M, rated second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in total offense, in receptions with 27 through six games.
“I didn’t really want to be redshirted,” said Smith, a former standout at Jackson-Olin High School. “But coach (Anthony Jones) explained it to me. He talked to me and now I’m grateful for it that he did redshirt me. “
Smith continued: “It was long, real long,” he said of his first year. “I traveled to all the games. I had to watch them and like certain plays I believe I could’ve made. I was like, ‘Well, coach is going to give me the opportunity next year’. That’s all I had to look forward to.”
He made the most of it once he did touch the field, leading the Bulldogs in receiving last year when he finished with 49 catches for 669 yards for a team that reached the SWAC title game.
He’s making kinetic the potential Jones said he saw when he made the decision to sit him a couple seasons ago.
“We saw it during his freshman year, his true freshman year, that we thought he was going to be a pretty good receiver for us,” Jones said. “But we wanted to give him a chance to grow and develop. So, we didn’t play him his freshman year. Last year, we got him in there. We just felt like with his quickness, him being a football smart kid, he’d be able to make a lot of plays for us and he’s doing so.”
Mason, who’s been named SWAC Offensive Player of the Week four week’s running, is having an MVP-caliber season. He’s completed 96 of 141 passing attempts for 1,195 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. The duo, which has been together for three years now, hung around town a little while longer this past offseason to work out together and make sure their chemistry stayed intact.
“He’s a great weapon,” Mason said of Smith, following the game against Valley. “I have a lot of great weapons in my receiving corps. They all know how to get open and they all pretty much understand the offense. So, it’s easier on me.”
Sophomore Reshaad DeJarnett leads the Bulldogs in receiving yards with 329 to go along with a pair of scores. Tight end Bobby Goldsby is tops on the team in touchdown grabs with three.
Alcorn State (2-4, 2-2) opened the season with a 22-21 win against Grambling State at the Port City Classic in Shreveport, La. then dropped four straight before upending Southern (La.) 20-17 at home this past weekend. The Braves possess the conference’s third-rated pass defense, giving up 153.8 yards through the air.
Alabama A&M leads the SWAC’s eastern division, a game ahead of rival Alabama State (4-2, 4-1). Alcorn, Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State each have two losses in the conference.
Following a bye week, The Bulldogs will take on Alabama State in the 71st State Farm Magic City Classic Oct. 27th at Legion Field.
By Nick Birdsong, Alabama Live