Athlete in Focus: Geno Smith

Warm up Throws

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Frank Jansky/ZUMA Press/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: zumasportswesttwo111088

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith made the biggest Heisman statement of the season this weekend when he threw for 8 touchdowns and 656 yards in the Mountaineers’ 70-63 Big 12 debut win over the Baylor Bears. As if the yards and touchdowns weren’t impressive enough, Smith only had six incomplete passes in the game.

West Virginia will need Smith to continue to put up huge numbers as they have four more ranked teams on their first Big 12 Schedule.

Smith showed great potential as a kid and was classified as gifted in his Florida grade school. Smith excelled in the arts including acting, writing, and sketching. He also competed in chess tournaments as he grew up. Smith attended Miramar High School in Miami where he was a star football player making the second team All-State as a junior. In Smith’s senior season he threw for 30 touchdowns and led Miramar to the state 6A semi-finals. The stats were enough for Smith to finish second in the Mr. Florida voting.

Following high school Smith was offered scholarships from a long list of schools including Alabama, LSU, Michigan, and South Florida. In the end Smith signed with West Virginia where he saw action in five games in his freshman year before becoming the full time starter in his sophomore season. In his junior season Smith broke a number of school records while leading the Mountaineers to the Orange Bowl. West Virginia defeated Clemson 70-33 in the Orange Bowl as Smith broke Tom Brady’s bowl record with 401 passing yards.

Orange Celebration

West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith celebrates after winning the Orange Bowl between the Clemson Tigers, and the West Virginia Mountaineers January 4th 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. .The West Virginia Mountaineers beat the Clemson Tigers 70-33. Susan Knowles/UPI/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: upiphotostwo132191

The road to the Heisman will not be easy as the Mountaineers still have to face the top teams in the Big 12 including a trip to Austin, Texas on Saturday where they will face the undefeated Longhorns for the first time since 1956. Like any good quarterback, if Smith is at the top of his game again West Virginia will have a great chance to earn another W.

For more photos of Geno Smith check out Newscom.

Pregame toss

West Virginia’s Geno Smith. ZUMA Press/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: zumasportsworld680835

Smoke show

West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) runs onto Mountaineer Field with teammates before defeating the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 35-14 at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, West Virginia. Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI 114/Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: iconphotostwo755355

Pointing out blocks

West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) rolls out of the pocket during Maryland Terrapins vs. West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, West Virginia. Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI 114/Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: iconphotostwo659699

The last reach

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith (12) reaches for the first down after being hit by South Florida linebacker Sam Barrington (36) n the 4th quarter of the game between the West Virginia University Mountaineers and University of South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. West Virginia won the game 30-27. Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMI CCX/Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMI/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: iconphotosthree094194

Smith Pass

West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) throws a pass against the Baylor Bears in Morgantown, W.Va. West Virginia defeated Baylor 70-63. Brad Davis/Icon SMI CGI/Brad Davis/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: iconphotosthree340061

Media day talk

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith speaks to reporters during the Big 12 Football Media Day at the Westin Galleria in Dallas, Texas. Tim Warner/ Icon SMI CGN/Tim Warner/Icon SMI/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: iconphotosthree280783

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