“It’s just natural instincts. Wherever the ball’s at, I key in on it. Eyes, hands, and I just lock on.”
That natural instinct has helped wide receiver Sebastian Smith tremendously this season. Throughout his three years with the Ohio Bobcats, his impact has grown each season. Smith had 12 catches for 85 yards in his first season in 2013. That number more than doubled in 2014 with 31 catches for 385 yards. This year, he’s already surpassed that with 51 catches for 632 yards with two games left in the season.
Quarterback Derrius Vick has noticed the transition, especially in the latter half of the season.
“You can really see this year that he’s having fun, that he believes that he’s the best player on the field at all times and that he can’t be stopped,” Vick said. “I think that’s really shown in his game the way he’s just carrying himself on and off the field.”
“I believe it just comes down to just doing your part as an individual,” Smith said. “You know there’s 11 guys on the field. It comes down to doing my part, and that’s what I go into the game thinking and come out of the game thinking. Next play, I got to convert for a first down or make this play for a touchdown or whatever it is.”
Even ESPN recognized what’s he done on the gridiron, where Smith’s amazing diving catch against Bowling Green on Nov. 4 was featured as one of SportsCenter’s top 10 plays.
“Actually, in the hotel, I was thinking about making [SportsCenter Top 10]. Last year I made it twice. This year you know I haven’t made it yet. I was thinking it’s time. I got to make a play,” Smith said.
But most of his big plays come when the ‘Cats really need it.
“A lot of them are on third down. Anytime it’s third down and long or I need a big catch, most of the time if you look it’s been Sebastian,” Vick said.
Smith has to adapt to just more than Vick behind center. The ‘Cats utilize all three quarterbacks in Vick, J.D. Sprague, and Greg Windham. All three quarterbacks have very different styles of play, and Smith has done well with all three so far this season.
“When we’re scrambling, we always have to be on the same page. So far, Sebastian has just been right there in an open spot. He just looks to get the ball no matter if it’s in traffic or not,” Vick said.
“I talk to all the quarterbacks. When a play breaks down, they know what I’m going to do. Whatever route we’re running, they know what I’m going to do. I just communicate well with all three quarterbacks. I’m comfortable with all three of them when they’re in the game,” Smith said.
No matter who’s snapping the ball, Smith wants to keep on shining and growing as an athlete.
“It’s just a blessing. I always think about progression. I look at my stats last year, and I’ve surpassed those. I’m looking just to grow as a player. The sky’s the limit for me and I’m just going to keep working hard.”