April 10, 2016

Brett Smith
I play quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL. I'll start with the fact that I didn't grow up in a place where kids typically get recruited for college. I started for 3 years in high school and played pretty well and our team had a lot of success. I was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Oregon, 1st team All State as a senior, and the CVC Player of the Year. Despite all of this, I wasn't recruited much. I ended up getting a scholarship to the University of Wyoming. And started school a semester early to get a jump on classes and participate in Spring football. Just so happened that when I got there, the starter had transferred to another school so I was able to compete for the starting job as a true freshman. With 2 weeks left until our 1st game, I was named the stater. In our first game, with 2 minutes left, I completed a pass on 4th and 12 to keep the drive alive and with a minute left we scored to pull ahead and ended up winning 35-32. After my Freshman year was over, I ended the year being named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year and named to the Freshman All American Team.
The next two years, I continued to start and play well. After my junior year I decided to forgo my senior year and declare myself for the NFL draft. After setting numerous school and conference records I was certain that I would get a shot to play with a team in the league. I wasn't invited to the NFL Combine, I didn't receive any workouts from any teams and wasn't selected in the draft. All of this, despite clocking the fastest 40 yard dash and had the longest broad jump amongst the 20 other QB's coming out that year. All of the rest of the categories I placed very highly in comparison to the other QB's. I ended up going to camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was cut shortly after. I went back home and worked on my grandpa's farm and also poured beer at a few events just to make some cash to get by. I waited for a call from another team and was called by the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL and was with them 6 weeks before being cut again.
At that point, I contemplated giving up the game for good until the Arena Football League called and I agreed to go play for them. However, a month before their camp, I called the coach and told him that I wasn't going to report to camp because I had aspirations to remain in the CFL. I called my agent and said that I wanted him to call every team in the CFL and make a case for me. The Saskatchewan Roughriders watched my film, and sent me a contract on the spot. Once in Saskatchewan, I made it through camp, and played in the first preseason game. It was my first game in 2 years, and I played well. I made the team after that. The first week, the starter would go down with a torn achilles and a few weeks later the 2nd string went down with a torn muscle in his pectoral. I got my first pro action and played for the next few weeks. Once the starter came back, he played for a couple weeks before being cut. I would be the starter for the next couple games along with another QB who would be evaluated for next season. In our last game, we were down 24-6 and I was put in the game in the 4th quarter. We scored two td's and kicked a field goal with seconds left to tie the game to send it into overtime. We scored one more time to win 30-24. I finished the year with 1,820 yards passing and 15 TD's, along with about 450 rushing yards and 3 TD's. I'm under contract with them for one more year before I become a free agent.
My story is still ongoing. I love the game and despite the immense amount criticism I've received from numerous draft pundits, coaches etc., I choose to not let any obstacle be too big to kill my dream of being a pro quarterback. I don't play just to play, I play to be the best and I'm continuing to work to be that one day.