Favorite athlete: Lebron James
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: Playing in my first Thanksgiving game in my junior year. There was just the huge crowd there and the energy - it was an amazing experience.
Funniest/most embarrassing moment while competing in sports: The most embarrassing moment was as a sophomore coming out to camp with no pads on, only my lowers on. Then getting yelled at and sent back in to find new ones.
Favorite music: Some of that good ole Gospel music. My favorite one right now is “Not the Time Not the place” Marvin Sapp
Future plans: To be successful and just be at a financial state where there isn't worry or stress.
Words to live by: “A smile a day keeps the doctor away.”
One goal before turning 30: I kind of want to go skydiving, but I'm kind of afraid of heights.
One thing people don't know about me: I used to play piano for a little bit. I'm not an expert but I used to play.
By Mary Jane Souder
When it comes to being a leader, Josh Smith’s philosophy is simple.
The Hatboro-Horsham senior - a captain of the football team - explains.
“I try to do the right things on the field, I try to do the right things during practice, I try to do the right things at school, and I try to do the right things in the community,” Smith said. “I try to be a leader in those ways and set a good example for others to follow.”
it's a leadership style that is highly effective.
“Every coach, to a man, just respects him, loves being around him,” Hatters’ coach Mike Kapusta said. “All his teammates like him. He’s not part of one clique or anything. He’s the type of kid who sort of transcends all of those types of things.
“He really enjoys his teammates and has a good time all the time doing what he’s doing. He’s the best, there’s no question.”
A dominant defensive player at outside linebacker, Smith also showed his value on the offensive side of the ball when one of the Hatters’ main ball carriers was limited to only defense in a recent game against Souderton. He finished with 137 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries.
“It was nice to see him let that potential loose on a Friday night because we’ve seen it, but to really be hitting the hole the way he was hitting the hole and to get 15 carries is an opportunity he hasn’t had in the past,” Kapusta said. “He’s got great speed.
“Coming into the year, we knew he had three very good running backs that we would kind of be rotating because they all play both positions. As the games have transpired and worn on, it’s been Josh who’s been really showing that extra burst. He’s been really good.”
The consummate team player, Smith tipped his hat to his teammates.
“It was a great team experience,” he said of his big offensive game against the Indians. “The offensive line did a great job coming off the ball. They did a great job blocking. The holes were very wide open and easy to run through.”
Smith attributes his success on the gridiron to the work he put in during the offseason.
“I feel as though the offseason is where the season is won,” the Hatters’ senior said. “If I don’t have a good offseason, it would not be a good in-season.”
“He’s one of the hardest workers,” Kapusta said. “He’s worked his tail off.
“Pound for pound, there’s no question he’s the strongest kid on our team. He’s really a great weight room kid.”
Smith also excels in the classroom where he has a 4.8 weighted GPA. Coming as no surprise, he takes that same work ethic into the classroom, a work ethic he learned at a young age from his parents, Kenneth and Kocoa Smith.
“My mom and dad pushed me to be the best that I could be in school,” Smith said. “When I was younger, they would sit with me when I would study.
“They would help me with my times tables. My mom would make me write the multiplication tables tons and tons of times. They really invested time into me to study and be the best I could be in the classroom.”
Smith didn’t get his first taste of organized sports until he joined the football team in eighth grade.
“I loved to watch football,” he said. “I would play pickup games in the neighborhood. I would pass the ball around at my church in the parking lot with my friends.
“My mom was really afraid I’d get injured – things like breaking bones and concussions. It was really a struggle to convince her to let me play.”
In eighth grade, his mother gave her permission, and Smith not only went out for the football team but the wrestling team as well.
“I had a good eighth grade wrestling career, but I didn’t love the sport like I love to play football, so I couldn’t see myself continuing it,” he said.
Smith admits he was in for a bit of a rude awakening when he tried out for the football team.
“I actually did not like it right away,” he said. “It was a lot of running. It was a little bit painful, but football was fun.
“I liked being in the team environment. I liked getting out and playing with my brothers. Over time, I grew to develop a love for it.”
In ninth grade, Smith suffered a season-ending injury early in the year.
“I actually broke my ankle during practice,” he said. “It was kind of rough on my mom, and she was having second thoughts about me playing football because it was so early on, but we stuck with it. I rehabbed and I got better.”
Smith never lost his positive attitude, although he admits it was tough to be sidelined.
“It was hard to go out and see my team on the field playing without me there,” he said. “I felt kind of useless on the sideline, but it also allowed me to develop a different role.
“It kind of allowed me to develop the cheerleader role – cheer my team on, carry the water. It helped me do different things.”
It was an example of Smith turning a negative into a positive, and although he was slowed down for a year, he came back with a renewed commitment.
“In ninth grade, he was having a phenomenal season when his season got cut short,” Kapusta said. “But he just never stopped chopping wood. Now he’s reaping the benefits of it.”
“You need to be able to come stronger to play on the field with the bigger kids,” Smith said. “You also need to become faster.”
“I want to give a shout out to lifting coach (Joe) Hallman. He’s done a great job with our team in building up our strength and speed for this season.”
The added strength and speed has made Smith – who measures in at 5-8, 180 - an even more effective defensive player.
“The key to being a good linebacker honestly is aggression and toughness,” he said. “Linebacker is not an easy position. You have offensive linemen who are twice your size, sometimes three times your size coming at you. People are always coming to block you. There’s a lot of contact, you’ve got to be aggressive.”
Beyond the game itself, football has taught Smith valuable life lessons.
“The best part honestly for me is pushing myself to achieve a goal because that’s what life is all about,” Smith said. “It’s about goals, and it’s about things you want to achieve.
“Football has helped me to realize you have to work hard and you have to be dedicated to something if you want to achieve the best results.”
With an impressive GPA and a 1270 on his SAT, Smith will not have a hard time getting into the college of his choice.
“Nothing right now is set in stone,” he said. “I would like to go somewhere in the engineering field of technology.”
As for football, Smith hasn’t decided.
“There’s a good possibility,” he said. “Honestly, what I’m going with is the best situation for my future for me.”
Smith is a member of Hatboro-Horsham’s LINK Crew, which helps freshmen acclimate to high school. The owner of a strong Christian faith, he also is active in his church.
These days Smith is savoring every moment of his final high school football season.
“I just want us to come out and do the best we can,” he said. “Obviously, we want the best for our team and for this program, but whatever happens is whatever happens.
“I just want to have fun on the field with my team because I love those guys.”