Q&A: Ward Jr.’s ‘little brother’ ready to make plays
John Tyler High School is the embodiment of a true Friday night lights football school, producing notable alumni that include 1977 Heisman Trophy-winning running back Earl Campbell, former UH linebacker Tyus Bowser and former quarterback Greg Ward Jr.
The Cougars may have found Ward’s doppleganger in freshman quarterback Bryson Smith. Rated a three-star recruit by ESPN coming out of high school, Smith closed out his senior year with 3,277 yards passing and 55 total touchdowns – 32 passing, 23 rushing.
Smith made his debut for the Cougars at the Red & White Game on Saturday, going nine of 15 passing for 99 yards and rushing for another 26.
The Cougar spoke with Smith after practice to discuss his transition from high school to college and his future here at the University of Houston.
The Cougar: You were recruited by some top-level schools, including UT and SMU, when you came out of high school, so what ultimately made you want to come to the University of Houston?
Bryson Smith: I just wanted a place that felt like home. I wanted to pursue a good education, and it’s perfect for me because it isn’t far from home. I don’t really like being too far away from my family, so that played a major part.
TC: Were you aware of what Greg Ward Jr. was doing here before you came up?
Smith: Yeah, he’s like my brother. We went to the same middle school, same high school and now the same college. He and I are real close, and he had a lot of influence on me coming here.
TC: Do you see any similarities between yourself and him? We already know you’re wearing his number.
Smith: Of course. We have similar playstyles, but at the end of the day he’s his own person and I’m my own person. We’re just guys who make plays.
TC: What’s it been like coming into the program here?
Smith: We’re just trying to get in tune with everything, like with the new offense. Defense right now isn’t really making a lot of changes, but we’re just trying to move forward and get better every day.
TC: How have you and D’Eriq King been working on adapting to the new offense?
Smith: Getting into the film room and a lot of studying. Really though, it just comes down to us ballin’ at the end of the day. We’re just playmakers, and you’re going to see a lot of that this season.
TC: Do you have any personal goals for yourself this season?
Smith: Matter of fact I do. When my number is called, I just want to be ready and be the playmaker that I’ve always been.
TC: What were you hoping to accomplish at the Red & White Game on Saturday?
Smith: Being fluid with the offense, minimizing my mistakes and just having fun. Enjoy the moment.
TC: Do you have a specific matchup you’re excited about this fall?
Smith: Every week is a specific matchup. We just try to take it one game at a time and beat whoever we have that week.