Marcus Smith's dream comes true

kprice@ledger-enquirer.comMay 9, 2014 

For the second year in a row, a former local high school standout was taken in the first round of the NFL draft.

Marcus Smith, who played quarterback at Hardaway High and graduated in 2010, was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 26th overall pick late Thursday night.

"It's just a dream come true. Everything that I wanted to happen fell in place," Smith said in a news conference Friday.

"Yesterday when my name got called I was very happy, my family was happy and I'm just happy to be an Eagle."

Carver High's Jarvis Jones was taken in the first round last year with the 17th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I've kind of looked up to Jarvis Jones," Smith said. "I grew up with Jarvis. We played basketball, AAU, with each other. When I moved to that position, I always asked him stuff about how to rush the passer and how to get to the quarterback."

Smith, who will graduate from Louisville today, was moved to defense early in his career with the Cardinals. He went on to earn American Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors.

"I think he's an outstanding athlete," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said in a news release. "… I think his ceiling is very, very high. We're excited. He's a tough, hard nosed football player."

Smith is the third Hardaway player to be drafted by an NFL team, according to Georgia High School Football Historians (ghsfh.com). The others were Wesly Mallard, who was taken by the New York Giants in 2002 in the sixth round, and Herman Hunter, who was drafted by the Eagles in the 11th round in 1985.

Two other Hardaway players -- Robert Steele (Dallas Cowboys, 1978-79) and Kelcie McCray (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2013) have also played in the NFL but were not drafted.

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