Keith Smith is a total class act.
I already knew this from my dealings with the Purdue wide receiver for the past few years, but Smith showed us once again Tuesday why he's one of the Big Ten's best.
Hours after an MRI confirmed that Smith's season and perhaps his college career is over -- he suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Saturday's game against Western Illinois -- the Purdue co-captain met with local media to discuss his situation. He had no obligation to do so, and no one would have blamed Smith for going into hiding for a while.
But the All-Big Ten receiver stood up and talked about the injury, dealing with the disappointment and his new role as a coach for the rest of the season. Smith isn't sure of his future plans with football and will only consider whether he applies for a sixth year of eligibility after he has surgery to repair the ACL.
If you have some time today, check out Smith's comments on Purdue's official website. He's gracious, mature and incredibly positive about the whole thing.
Here's a sampling of what he said ...
On the injury: "After the hit, I was laying on the ground and I've never felt pain the way that I did. So I knew it was something very serious, and it was really loose."
On his feelings: "Of course, I'm bummed out about it, but we've still have a whole season to go, and now my role just changed from being a player to being a coach to these guys and still being the leader I am out here, regardless if I'm on the field or not. I talked to the guys today and they have great support for me and they know I'm going to be there for them for the rest of the season."
On Purdue's receiving corps: "They can do it. With everyone stepping up their game a little bit, you won't see a difference out there. You won't see a [No.] 8, but we still have the best receiving corps in the Big Ten. ... I know how good each of them can be, so I'm going to push them through practice, through the games. I'll be right there on the sidelines with them, have a voice in their ear."
On handling the setback: "I gave myself till today [to be disappointed]. Today is the road to recovery. I have the cast on now, there's no reason to be down about it anymore. You just have to look at all the positive aspects of it. Now I need to be the leader of my team, and continue being that like I have been, and getting them set for the right path."