CHAPEL HILL – It was always the plan for track standout Roy Smith to walk-on to the football team and although it took a couple years it couldn’t be coming at a better time.
Q: When you came to UNC on a track scholarship in ’10, was playing football always part of the plan?
“It was in the plan but there was a setback. It just took a little time for it to all work out.
“Butch (Davis) wanted me on the team but I was having trouble with track and my academics. I wanted to get that situated before I came out for two sports. But now everything is worked out an I’m still running track.”
***The Miami (Fla.) Northwestern standout and his father approached head coach Larry Fedora about walking onto the football team after the spring and were given the green light after a standard background check by Fedora.
“We talked with the track coach and he was all for it,” Fedora said. “We said if he wanted to do what we do then we would give him a shot.”
On the track, Smith has excelled since arriving in Chapel Hill as he placed second in the 400-meter hurdles at the ACC Outdoor Championships in 2011.
Q: What was one your bigger moments in high school football?
“We went to the National 7on7 tournament in Oregon and I did well there. I got co-MVP with my quarterback [and current Louisville starter] Teddy Bridgewater. I put up a lot of numbers there.
Although smaller than Kedrick Davis, Smith has plenty of speed
“I got hurt during my senior season in the first six games. The last 6 games I had about 16 catches for 230-yards and 1 touchdown.”
Q: Did you get looked at for a football scholarship at all?
“No sir. Not at all.”
***Size likely had a lot to do with the lack of serious D1 interest or even D2 looks as the diminutive wide receiver lists himself a 5-9, 170-pounds although he’s looks to be closer to 5-7, 160. No matter according to head coach Larry Fedora who said of Smith:
“[Smith’s] done some nice things although he didn’t have 15 days of spring practice,” UNC head coach said on Tuesday. “He’s made some nice catches and he’s fine in the contact phase catching the ball in the crowd so it will be interesting to see how he progresses.”
Q: What kind of interest did you get in track offers?
“I was ranked no. 3 in the nation for the 400-meter and 110 hurdles. Big schools were looking at me like Georgia, South Carolina and some other schools up north like Michigan.
“I really didn’t want to go all the way up north because that was too cold being from Florida. North Carolina is a nice spot and I liked the campus. I just felt at home when I visited up here so I just signed the papers.”
Q: What positions have you been working out at so far?
“Right now on special teams, I’m working with the upperclassmen at the return spots. We’re just trying to work into a rotation with some of the younger guys also.
“At wide receiver, I’m on the second-team behind Erik Highsmith. I play the outside receiver spot. I started out at the ‘A,’ position inside on the slot but due to the depth chart they moved me outside. That just happened a couple days ago that they moved me outside. I just learned everything for the ‘A’ because I knew that was my position and then things switched up and I got moved to the ‘X,’ on Monday night.”
Q: How tough has the transition been to playing football again?
“It hasn’t been too hard. I come from a talent pool with my dad running track and playing football and my mom ran track. I’m used to it because I’ve been playing football since I was 6 and running track since I was 7. I’ve been going from track to football since then so it’s not really a hard transition for me.”
***With WR/KR T.J. Thorpe out indefinitely with a broken foot and freshman wide out Quinshad Davis yet to be medically cleared there’s a strong possibility that Smith could see a lot of the field this fall if he continues to progress.