Pitt's Smith makes move to diamond work
College Football Videos
Kevan Smith was facing a big decision.
Should he remain with the Pitt football team or try his hand at baseball?
He felt he was capable of performing at a high level in both sports. But after some intense soul-searching and a nudge from Pitt football coach Dave Wannstedt, Smith opted to move on and try his luck with the Panthers' baseball team.
So far, it's worked out well for the former Seneca Valley multi-sport star, who came to the Big East school on a football scholarship and played quarterback mainly in a backup role during his first two seasons.
"I wanted to play both, and I told coach Wannstedt I'd do anything to remain on my football scholarship," Smith said. "I said I'd play special teams and long-snapper, anything he wanted. I was hoping he'd go along with it, but he told me I had to make a decision."
It might turn out to be a no-brainer that Smith made the switch in sports.
As a platoon catcher/DH for the Pitt baseball team (26-10), ranked No. 24 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper weekly poll, Smith is enjoying his redshirt junior season.
"He's doing great," Pitt coach Joe Jordano said. "He'll benefit from getting another year under his belt. He has to continue to improve his defensive skills. He's got the arm strength, obviously. As he continues to develop as a baseball player, he's got a chance to play at the next level."
Though he was 0 for 4 in a 16-3 loss at Kent State on Tuesday, ending Pitt's four-game winning streak, Smith is batting .322 (47 for 146) with three home runs and 31 RBI in 35 games. He also has 12 doubles and has struck out just nine times. And he has yet to commit an error.
"I've felt more confident in baseball, but I also knew I had the tools to play football at this level, too," said the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Smith.
He started several football games in his first season, recalling a comparison between the huge crowds on Saturday afternoons and the sparse crowds on Friday nights.
"It seemed like it was slowly working out for me," Smith said. "I thought I did OK. But the next season wasn't as promising. I wasn't getting what I felt was the shot I needed. I was beginning to wonder if it was worth it."
He hadn't forgotten the visits Jordano made to watch him play baseball in high school. He knew the coach was recruiting him, but he also knew that a baseball scholarship didn't add up to the value of a football scholarship.
Yet, here he is, playing baseball after all.
"I took a little sacrifice on my scholarship," Smith said, "but looking at it now, I think the draft is a possibility."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates show depth in earning victory over Rockies; Polanco has big night
- Healthy, confident Steelers LB Shazier ready for full speed ahead
- Daily Courier columnist knew, loved Connellsville community
- Earlier start, free meals among changes as Connellsville Area schools start Monday
- Columnist knew, loved community
- What’s gained at push of a button
- FDA’s revised serving sizes on nutrition labels might backfire as endorsement
- Timing drives former KHL star Plotnikov
- Paving, electronics upgrades evident at Steel Valley
- NFL notebook: Redskins backpedal on RG3, who’s now out against Ravens
- ‘Banshee’ props, inventory up for sale