The Punter From Down Under – #37 James Smith

A First-Team All-ACC selection as a true freshman, left-footed sophomore James Smith is no stranger to success.

Prior to his arrival in Clifton, Smith played professional Australian football – and played it quite well.  A member of the Wangaratta Rovers since 2013, James eventually trained for 16 months at Prokick Australia to earn a scholarship to play NCAA Division 1 football.  He would travel over three hours four times a week to train and learn the American game.  A small indicator of James’ work-ethic, the training paid off, earning him a spot on the Bearcats in 2017 as a 23-year-old freshman.

Traveling 9,683 miles across the world from Wangaratta, Australia, to start a new life is no small task.  James is handling the transition with ease.  Having earned a 4.0 last semester, Smith is an all-star on the field and in the classroom.  Smith would love to get into the digital media world, and he looks up to Dan Hoard and Tony Pike.

His family attended the UCLA game in Pasadena, California, and stuck around for the last two weeks to watch the Bearcats earn wins against Miami (OH) and Alabama A&M as well.  While Mike Warren was the popular vote for MVP of the Miami game, behind Smith’s steady leg, the Redhawks were always pinned back deep in their own territory.  Smith averaged 46 yards on eight punts in a torrential downpour, resulting in Miami being unable to put any points on the board.  Indeed, three of his punts landed inside the 20-yard-line.

The sure-footed and reliable punter earned a spot on the Ray Guy Award Watch List.  This season, the 6’ 5” and 225 lb. Smith is averaging 45 yards a punt, with nine of his 18 punts landing inside the 20.  He is no longer sporting the long hair either.

A huge fan of water sports, James enjoys wakeboarding.  He is also a huge fan of our very own Skyline Chili and the homey atmosphere surrounding Cincinnati.

Lastly, Smith recommends everyone visit the East Coast of Australia, including the barrier reefs.

By Andy Smith

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