September 8, 2016

Corey Smith: Comeback Kid

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Sept. 8, 2016

Preview of the September 10th edition of the Ohio State Football Official Gameday Magazine. Gameday Magazines are available for purchase for $10 in and around Ohio Stadium.

Mary Zimmerman
Ohio State Athletics Communications

How long would it take for you to give up on your dream? How many setbacks would it take for you to throw in the towel? How many obstacles, injuries, hurdles to jump over, complications and barriers would you stare down fearlessly in the name of your passion?

Comeback kid Corey Smith throws no white flag.

Smith is in his fourth year with the Ohio State football program and is a sixth-year student. If that sounds like he’s been around for a while, it’s because he has…remember, Smith doesn’t give up.

The story begins five years ago with a young Smith playing football at a community college in Grand Rapids, Mich., only to have an undefeated season be rewarded by the college discontinuing the football program. Consequently, Smith transferred to a junior college in Mississippi (East Mississippi C.C.), until he ultimately ended up finding success with the Buckeyes helping them fight their way to a national championship. And the rest, as they say, was history.

Until week five of last season. Trailing the Hoosiers 17-3 in the third quarter, the Buckeyes ran to the outside with Curtis Samuel, while Smith was out front trying to pick up a block. As Samuel was tackled, he fell down on Smith’s leg, rolling up into his teammate. Smith’s leg was broken, as were the hearts of family, friends and fans that knew this was the end of his season. However, the sadness they felt was unparalleled by Smith’s own optimism and maturity.

“During that time, I had been praying, and I had asked God to slow me down, and next thing you know I broke my leg,” Smith said. “I’m not saying that was a good thing, but I wouldn’t say it was a bad thing either. Of course you get down on yourself in the beginning, you want to understand, `Why me? Why did this happen to me?’ But the journey to recovery, it makes you a better person in the end. It humbles you.”

Now he’s back and better than ever motivated by his love for his teammates and the reignited flame deep in his soul.

“I feel good, I feel great,” Smith said. “I haven’t played in so long. It feels good to be back out there with my brothers, contributing and helping them. I overcame a lot of adversity, but I’m happy because I like challenges and I know God puts certain challenges in your life just to show your inner strength.”

The secret to accessing this inner strength, according to Smith, is not as complicated as one might think.

“I pray every night, I focus, and I try to handle my business like a pro.”

Handling his business is Smith’s goal this year, specifically eyeing another national championship. Though this will be Smith’s final year with the Buckeyes, the story of Corey Smith is not over, it’s only just begun.