Marcus Smith led the University of Louisville football team in sacks last year, despite missing three games.

Know your Cardinals: Junior defensive end Marcus Smith

Marcus Smith led the University of Louisville football team in sacks last year, despite missing three games.

By Noah Allison–

In high school, Marcus Smith was making a name for himself from behind center as a big, bruising quarterback; in his third year at U of L he has made a name for himself being a big, quarterback-bruising defensive end.

“I’ve been playing football since I was five years old, my daddy got me into it because he just wanted me to get out there and be active,” Smith said. “I played quarterback in high school, I had been playing quarterback since I was five years old, when I got here they switched me over, so I’ve only been playing defensive line for two and a half years now.”

Last season, despite missing three games due to injury, Smith led the team in sacks with five and a half. With just two years of prior experience at the position, Smith still contributes greatly to a team with defensive prowess, but recognizes where improvement is needed.

“The whole d-line, including myself, needs to improve at pass rushing, just getting to the quarterback. Our interior guys need to get a better push, our outside guys just have to continue to rush and get past those offensive tackles faster,” Smith said.

Smith, a former quarterback turned defensive end, has also proven to have some hands. With an interception in the UNC game and two surprise two-point conversion receptions early in the season, Smith has left opposing teams a reason to be on their toes at all times he is on the field.

“We started working on the two-point conversions maybe the second week of camp. I really like my role in those, coach trusted me to go up there and catch the ball, so I just do it for him, catch the ball, and we get two extra points,” Smith said. “In that Kentucky game, when the ball was up in the air I was just thinking like oh man, am I going to catch this or am I about to drop it? But thankfully I caught it and that was it.”

The Cardinals begin conference play next weekend at the University of Pittsburgh; Smith and the rest of the defensive line will have to play a huge role for U of L’s success.

sports@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal

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