Cover Photo Credit: Varsity Views
Versatile and very coachable, Palatine’s 2018 DE Bryan Smith updated me on his recruiting. We talked his upcoming visits, how he leads on and off the field and his underrated teammates.
You can find Bryan on Twitter @smitty2588.
Wt: 205 lbs
Commitment status: Undecided
LPI: You guys had a great year winning the Mid-Suburban West Conference finishing at 12-1, but fell to eventual 8A state champion Maine South in the 8A playoffs. Now that your season is over it’s already time to get ready for next season. What are you going to do to take your game to the next level this offseason?
BS: I will be in the weight room with my teammates after school and during free time as we bulk up and get ready for next season. Also, I try to eat as much as I can in healthy foods in order to reach my goal of 230 by next season. I’ve also been in contact with coaches, seeing how I can improve and bring my game to a higher level.
LPI: You currently do not have any offers, but I believe you definitely have what it takes to play college ball. What skill set can you bring to the table for a college football program?
BS: I believe I’m a strong leader and bring a great work ethic with me to the field. I feel that I play the game fast and can explode through a gap quickly, while also keeping up with the ball carrier. I also am a versatile player, able to play end, linebacker, or anywhere the coaches need me. I also am a student of the game, watching film and taking advice to improve my game.
LPI: What schools have shown serious interest in you and do you have any planned visits coming up?
BS: I’ve had one school contact me showing interest, but nothing outside of that. I would love to get out and visit schools soon before the season comes around and see some of the college programs. I also plan on attending college camps throughout the summer to showcase my talents to the coaches.
LPI: On and off the field, how do you demonstrate leadership?
BS: I try to be a leader in everything I do. In football, I try and take what the coaches and seniors preach, and lead by example. I also enjoy motivating my teammates to do their best on the field and to always give it their all. Off the field, I help coach sports and try to lead clubs and activities I am involved in.
LPI: Tell me about some of your teammates that can play at the next level, but are getting overlooked by college coaches.
Mackenzie Balanganyi: He played defensive end with me, but also acted as another coach for the defense. No matter the situation, he would lead us along and always play for the team. You can trust him to make a play anytime he’s out on the field he would excel at the collegiate level.
Cortez Hogans: Cortez is always a fun person to be around, but on the football field he is a force to be reckoned with. He could a fill gap before the running back got there and was always in the backfield making big plays. He also has a great understanding of the game, which allows him to be great in pass coverage too.
Jake Moertl: He was a very versatile player on our team. He holds the team record for most interceptions in a season, as a junior. He’s an exceptional corner, but also played safety when he was needed to. His sense for the ball allowed to make plays knocking down passes, blowing back receivers trying to block him, or blowing up an outside run.
Johnny O’Shea: Being a starter since sophomore year is its own accomplishment, but he has excelled past that. He is known for his acrobatic catches and coming up clutch in close games and leading the team. He plays with a motor that does not stop, as you can see when he is blocking receivers 10 yards downfield on the opposite side of a run play.
Carson Walker: Carson, also a starter sophomore year, is a great player as he is able to move defenders larger and faster than him with his great technique and always working to get better. He is a hardnosed player and a heavy hitter, who can control the line of scrimmage. His pass protection is also exceptional, and I saw him improve all season taking on better and better pass rushers.
Basa Balanganyi: A sophomore this season, he was a monster against everyone. From the first day in summer I knew he was special, and continued to see that as we also faced each other in practice. His pass protection was the best I saw all season, and his run block was what really allowed us to run off tackles as he always gave room to run.