As of this writing, Troy Smith is the starting quarterback for The Ohio State University football team. He was the Heisman Trophy winner for 2006.
Smith was born on July 20, 1984, in Columbus, Ohio. As a toddler, Smith and his family relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, where Smith developed a love of sports. He also experienced a difficult childhood. Due to his mother's addiction to drugs and her arrest, Smith spent four years of his youth in Ohio's foster care system. At fourteen years of age, he returned to his mother's custody, and the family eventually moved to Glenville, Ohio, near Cleveland. Smith played several sports at St. Edward High School, in Lakewood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. During his sophomore season, Smith elbowed an opposing player in the face during a school basketball game. Smith claimed that the opposing player had used racial slurs, a claim the opposing player denied. Smith then transferred to and played football for Glenville High School. The school's coach, Ted Ginn, Sr., served a fatherly role in Smith's life, as Smith's actual father played no major role in the young man's life. Ginn's son, Ted Ginn, Jr., is a teammate of Smith's at Ohio State and one of the quarterback's favorite receivers.
Smith dreamed of playing football at Ohio State. Buckeye Coach Jim Tressel offered Smith a scholarship, which the player gladly accepted. Interestingly, Tressel was uncertain of what position Smith would play on the team. He believed that Smith could excel as a quarterback, a cornerback, or as a running back. Despite the uncertainty of which position that he would play, Smith entered Ohio State certain that he would become the team's starting quarterback.
Due to the Buckeyes having a number of veteran quarterbacks, Smith red-shirted during the 2002 season, his freshman year. In 2003, Smith played sparingly as a running back and as a punt and kick returner. While his coaches encouraged the young player to watch film and to become more familiar with college football, Smith, himself, admits that he ignored the coaches' advice, preferring to party. On November 11, 2003, Smith was involved in a fight outside of one of Ohio State's dormitories. He pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge, but Ohio State officials claimed that Smith tried to break up the altercation.
Smith emerged as Ohio State's starting quarterback during the 2004 season. The Buckeyes starting quarterback, Justin Zwick, was injured mid-season, and Smith emerged as the starter. He led the team to four victories out of the five games in which he played, including a victory over the Buckeyes' arch-rival the University of Michigan. In his three years (2004-2006) as a starter, Smith never lost to the Michigan Wolverines. During the 2004 season, Buckeye Coach Jim Tressel suspended Smith for the team's bowl game, the Alamo Bowl, and for the starting game of the 2005 season. Ohio State eventually revealed that Smith had taken five hundred dollars from a booster.
In 2005, Smith lost only one game, the game against Penn State University, as a starter, although the team also lost to the University of Texas, the eventual national champion. Smith finished the season as the nation's fourth highest-ranked quarterback, and he also led the Buckeyes to a resounding victory over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.
The 2006 season was clearly Smith's best. The Buckeyes finished the regular season undefeated. Smith garnered several awards for his performance, including the Heisman Trophy and the Davey O'Brien Award, among others.
Smith matured as a player over his years at Ohio State. With only one game left to play in his college career, Smith has amassed 5,685 career passing yards, completing 416 of 656 attempted passes, with only twelve interceptions. He also has scored fifty-four passing touchdowns. His longest completion was an eighty-five yard pass in 2005. Known for his scrambling ability, Smith has averaged just over one sack per game during his career. During his career, Smith also has amassed 1,197 rushing yards on 283 carries. He also has scored fourteen rushing touchdowns.
As of this writing, Smith and The Ohio State Buckeyes are preparing for the National Championship Game, which will take place on January 8, 2007, in Glendale, Arizona. The Buckeyes' opponent will be the University of Florida Gators.