September 7, 2010

Smith back to finish the job

There was a time last season that Zach Smith thought his playing days might be over.

Smith had suffered a series of concussions that dated back to his high school days and caused him to miss the final seven games of 2009. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound safety decided to attempt a comeback during the spring to finish what he started during his career at Mississippi State.

"It was basically about these guys," Smith said. "When you become part of this team you are part of the family. I couldn't leave that before I finished my job. Whether my job is running down the field on every special teams or coming in during certain packages, I'm going to fulfill what they want me to do to the best of my ability. Basically it came down to guys like K.J. Wright, Wade Bonner and Charles Mitchell - guys that I have been with for a long time. I couldn't tell them that I was not going to come back."

Smith made five starts in the secondary last season making 26 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack, two forced fumbles and a pair of pass deflections. But the headaches Smith had to endure became unbearable to the point he could not finish out the year.

"Everybody who has played football for as long as I have has had some type of head injury," Smith said. "But the concussion thing was beginning to be a scare because I'd had a history of them in high school and then I came here and got a few. I got some scans done and they diagnosed me with headaches, traumatic migraines."

The Altoona, Ala., native made the attempt to comeback this spring on a trial basis. He finished spring practice as the Bulldogs backup at free safety which is where he remains entering the second week of his senior year.

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