Before training camps kick off, a number of players and some coaches will pay tribute to people who helped them make it to the NFL as part of the AFC South Blog’s summer series: “Early Influence.”
Wade Smith, Texans offensive lineman
“Coach Hill my eighth grade football coach, I can’t even remember his first name, he passed when I was in 10th or 11th grade. It’s him and my offensive coordinator from high school, Harry Everett.
“Both those guys told me at a young age that they thought I was going to be a Division I football player, and make it in life. As a kid, where I was from, the biggest thing was to be a starting football player at Lake Highlands high School [in Dallas].
“Anything after that, you didn’t think that far ahead. But they kind of put that in my head that I had what it takes to get to the next level. Thinking of how it was as a kid, I never would have even thought about that. I think I am here for a reason.”