LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville running back Jeremy Smith suffered a foot injury in March, which caused him to be shut down for the final couple weeks of spring practice.
For a football player and a competitor, the hardest thing to do is sit back and watch their teammates every day in practice. But for Smith, it might have been a blessing.
“I don’t really like sitting out because I like to be out there with those guys,” Smith said. “Sometimes sitting out is the best thing for you because it allows your body to heal and rest up. Being out hurt me from a conditioning standpoint, but right now, I feel good out there.”
Heading into fall camp, Smith has been limited as he attempted to nurse his injury, but he knew that he couldn’t fall behind on the depth chart, especially in his final season with the Cardinals.
After two weeks of practice, Smith is close to 100 percent as the Sept. 2 opener versus Purdue is rapidly approaching. However, as a running back, he playing through pain is part of the game.
“No player is ever 100 percent,” Smith said. “But, I’m ready to go. There is no slow in Coach Bobby Petrino’s offense and I have to be ready to go. If you are slow, that means you are too hurt to be out there. It feels good to be finally back out there.”
Smith emerged last season in his second year in the program, which made him want to get back out on the field as soon as possible. The Hammond, La., native rushed for a career-best 382 yards, while reaching another personal best with eight rushing touchdowns.
He helped spark a 24-14 win over Duke with 97 yards on four carries, highlighted by an 80-yard run that ignited the offense.
He also added a pair of rushing touchdowns in a big win over Florida State and added two more scores in a 54-13 victory against NC State.
While Smith did most of his damage on the ground, he is one of the best receivers out of the backfield. Smith caught 18 passes for 227 yards and one score last season.
“Catching the ball out of the backfield is a tremendous threat,” Smith said, “especially when you have multiple backs who can catch the football, which is definitely one of our strengths.”
In his final season with the Cardinals, Smith has some lofty personal aspirations.
“I have some big goals that I’m looking to keep hold to,” Smith said. “I’m looking to blow those out of the water based on what I did last season. I feel like I could have done so much more last year, and this year with the talent we have, it could be possible.”
Collectively, the Cardinals rushed for a school-record 3,148 yards and 37 touchdowns last year en route to finishing in the top-15 nationally running the football.
With Smith, Reggie Bonnafon and Malik Williams, the Cardinals have a dangerous trio, and add Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson to the mix, the Cardinals could re-write the rushing records this season.