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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive End, Jaquies Smith is from Dallas, TX. He was a standout high school athlete at South Oak Cliff High School and then went on to play at the University of Missouri. Smith went undrafted in 2012, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing the game he loved. Following the draft he was signed by the Miami Dolphins. After a brief stint he joined the Canadian Football League. After a season north of the boarder Smith found himself back in the NFL joining the Jets. In 2014 Smith found his home with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he went from a rotational defensive lineman to taking over the starting role.

On Saturday, June 25 Smith came back to Dallas and hosted a Youth Mini-Camp in the neighborhood he grew up in for over 200 kids. We sat down with Smith and asked him a few questions…

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Q: What makes you want to come back and do a camp in your hometown.

A: I grew in an urban area. An area where people say these kids may not have the opportunity like others. This gives us a chance to give them something to strive for and dream for.

Q: What is the biggest inspiration that you received from a coach?

A: My grandfather. He was our coach when we were growing up. He was always a big help in the community. He was always my inspiration. He would stay up late with me and always motivate me and continue to push me.

Q: Are there any causes that you are passionate about?

A: Kids. Getting kids active and have them focusing on whatever they’re passionate about whether it is sports or academics.

Q: I’m going to change directions now. What are you doing to train this offseason? 

A: Of course we have team workouts. I’ve been training a lot in Frisco. You have to stay ready mentally and physically. Making sure I’m stretching properly. Doing a lot of boxing, plyometrics and yoga. You have to work different muscles in your body.

Q: What is one word of advice you would leave to this kids today?

A: Determination. Always be determined in what you want to do. Whatever you want to do in life… to be a doctor, a teacher, an athlete, be determined in whatever you are passionate about.

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