NFL DraftProspect Interviews

2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: John Smith, CB, Holy Cross

John Smith is a quick, shutdown corner at Holy Cross. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
John Smith is a quick, shutdown corner at Holy Cross. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: John Smith
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 190 lbs.
  • Position: CB
  • College: Holy Cross
  • Twitter: fresh_smith3
  • Instagram: fresh_smith07

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?

I am majoring in Psychology. When I am back home in Florida, I help my dad coach younger kids.

What do you think your teammates would say is your best quality?

My teammates would say that I am a very calm, smooth, even-keeled individual.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?

I have the ability to fit in several defensive schemes. I’m very diverse, having played outside corner, inside at nickel or at the safety position. In high school, I actually played QB up until my junior year when I played safety. During my time at Holy Cross, I have mostly played outside corner. This past season, I was frequently moved into the nickel position, allowing me to be close to the action.

We play a fast and furious defense with a lot of great athletes across the board. We pride ourselves in finding the football. We don’t mess around on defense and dominate our league. I also love playing special teams. Coach Canan makes it fun. I’ve played on all special teams, returning kicks, playing gunner, and also being on the hand’s team.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

The big wakeup call my freshman year was witnessing RB AJ Dillon at Boston College. Prior to then, I had never seen a person of his size move that fast.

Here in our conference, I go up against some good competition. I love going against WR Dequece Carter from Fordham has been one of my best match ups. He’s a great player with good speed and his spectacular catch ability is one of the best in our conference. 

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

LB Liam Anderson has been very impressive to me in how he has developed over the years. Being a high school QB, he moved to strong safety coming to Holy Cross. Then after dominating in the weight room and gaining muscle, he’s become one of the best LBs in the country.

I expect great seasons from all of our wide receivers, especially Ayir Asante, Jalen Coker, and Justin Shorter. We always compete against each other in practice because we know iron sharpens iron. We understand that competition needs to be at a certain level in order to get to our ultimate goal.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

During the second semester of my freshman year, my grandma passed away. That was a rough time, and it took a toll on me. My grades dipped, and I wasn’t in the best shape mentally. Then on the anniversary of her death, I was stuck at home because the pandemic hit. Dealing with all that taught me humility, patience, how to ask for help, and a new perspective on life. I know that life and football could easily be taken away from me. So, I appreciate the opportunities that I have as I strive to be a professional athlete.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?

Basketball is my next favorite sport behind football. There’s a lot of skill involved, and I have a deep appreciation for the game. I’m also well-versed as a player, being a 4-year starter in high school. I also coach basketball with my dad.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?

I’m most proud of my opportunity to provide for my family very soon. I’m also looking forward to obtaining my Bachelor’s degree. Some of my accolades include being a 3-time All-Conference player as well as being named the MVP of the Patriot League Championship game during the 2020-2021 Spring season.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

My first college interception in 2018 was very special. We were playing against Lafayette, and it was the first time that a lot of my family was able to come see me play. I was playing safety, and we rotated our defense, following the QB as he drifted. He overthrew his receiver. I had a great catch on the ball, spinning around with one hand on the ground. I ran about 40-50 yards for a pick-6, but unfortunately it was called back due to a block in the back.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?

My favorite athlete is Dwayne Wade. He’s overcome a lot over the years and displays quality character in how he conducts himself on and off the court. My favorite team is the Golden State Warriors and how they are able to play basketball the right way without being selfish.

As far as football, I study players like Jalen Ramsey who has a great mentality towards the game. He sets a high standard for himself and always wants to be the best. Tyrann Mathieu is another guy that I look up to because, even though he’s a smaller guy, he is still one of the best in the game at what he does.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?

Rod Wave is my favorite music artist. Before games I like listening to Doeboyor NBA YoungBoy

What is your favorite comfort food?

Peanut butter and jelly

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?

One of my favorite TV shows is Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Denzel Washington is my favorite actor.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?

I’m very passionate about coaching. I also enjoy sketching still lifes in my spare time.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?

I play football for the opportunity to hopefully one day provide for my family. Nothing else would make me happier than to give back to the people who sacrificed so much for me to be able to do what I love. 

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