Traveling man wants another trip Football: Meade's do-it-all guy, Andrew Smith, has seen many parts of the world but his goal for this season is leading his team to new heights in Maryland.

September 18, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The Berlin Wall and Rome, the Northwest's picturesque national parks and Georgia's Blue Ridge mountains, the Rio Grande and the gateway to Mexico -- El Paso, Texas -- have been important stops in the life of Andrew Smith.

Meade's "traveling man" on and off the football field, Smith has been to places and had life experiences that most teen-agers can only read about or watch on TV or the Internet.

But there is one other trip he desperately wants to make.

"I've never been to any type of playoffs at any level, and it's my goal to live that experience," said the 17-year-old Smith, who is the Mustangs' do-it-all guy as quarterback, defensive back, punter and kick returner.

Smith is the son of a military dad, Andrew Smith Sr., a South Carolina native who played football at Knoxville College and works at the Pentagon.

Andrew Jr. has lived in Georgia, Washington, Italy, Germany and El Paso. His family moved to Fort Meade last year.

"The moving is not easy, but getting to see the world has given me the opportunity to see not so many negative things, but a lot of positive things," said Smith, who was an option quarterback at Austin (Texas) High.

Favorite subject: math

A self-proclaimed "people person," Smith had no trouble fitting in at Meade as a model student-athlete.

While also working about 20 hours a week part-time (mostly weekends) at a fast-food business, Smith maintains a 3.82 grade-point average (he never had below a B in any course) and scored a 1,080 on his SAT.

"It's the result of time management, realizing the importance of self-preparation, and classroom accomplishments to succeed in this world," Smith said.

Math is his favorite subject, and he plans to major in micro-computer engineering in college and hopes to play football.

Something of a late bloomer, Smith sparkled at the University of Maryland summer camp and has drawn interest from the Terps, Virginia, Michigan State, Dartmouth, Illinois, Army, Navy, Princeton, Penn, Yale, Mississippi, Connecticut and Richmond. Most of the schools like him as a defensive back.

In and out of the line-up as a junior on a team that showcased prolific running back Tanardo Sharps, the county's all-time leading rusher, the 6-foot, 185-pound Smith is emerging as the county's top all-around player as a senior.

"Tanardo was something else, but now it's my time to shine," said Smith, whose 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash beamed in last week's 33-12 Mustang loss to Friendly.

Smith amassed 356 all-purpose yards by executing the option for 148 rushing yards and 78 passing, and totaling 130 yards on kick and punt returns.

He had both Mustangs touchdowns on a 96-yard run from scrimmage and a 78-yard scamper with the second-half kickoff.

At safety, Smith constantly came up to make one-on-one, textbook tackles and finished with a dozen hits.

'He's a gamer'

Coach Mark Frye, is in his second season at Meade, said, "Andrew is the man. He's a gamer and is the best player in the county."

Frye goes so far as to put Smith in the special class of the likes of two multi-purpose players he coached in youth football with the Pasadena Chargers in Jason Smith and his son, Mark Frye.

Smith and Frye went on to be 1994 All-Metro players at Broadneck and Severna Park, respectively, after handling multi-purpose duties vital to their team's success.

"I push myself and want to be out there all the time," said Smith. "We run a lot in practice, and our conditioning makes it possible for me to play both ways. I love playing every down."

"I love the responsibility of being a team leader," said Smith, a team captain. "It comes with the territory as a quarterback and captain.

"Coach Frye and I have a great rapport, and there's a big difference from last year. I've seen him [Frye] grow as a coach, and he's seen me grow as a player.

"This team has more confidence than any I've ever played on."

And the confidence his coach and team have in him, could mean Meade's "traveling man" is headed to the playoffs for the first time.

Pub Date: 9/18/98

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