Antwan Smith prides himself on his adaptability.
“I’m a real road warrior,” he laughs. “I went to four colleges in five years. They were all over the place, too — College of the Canyons out in California, Robert Morris [in Pennsylvania], West Virginia State, then Dickinson State [in North Dakota]. And I’m from Washington DC, so that’s practically half the country right there.
“After college, I went out to Colorado to play for an indoor team there, which ended up folding. Then I caught on with Bismarck [Bucks, in the IFL]. You learn to adapt pretty fast!”
Smith is equally versatile on the field. “I’ve played all over the secondary,” he says. “I’ve played outside corner, safety, even jack linebacker. I played all of those positions within four weeks [in the 2020 season]. I learn fast! I feel that you can put me in any situation out there, and I’ll handle it.”
The stats back him up. In 2019, he racked up 31 tackles — good for seventh on the team — and was one of only two Bucks to record an interception (and the only player with multiple picks). He also recovered a fumble, which he returned for a touchdown — Bismarck’s lone defensive score on the year. But the most impressive statistic is this: He did it all in just six games.
“I can’t wait to to play a full season for Cedar Rapids,” he says. “It’s a great situation to be in. I’m excited to play for Coach Mann and Coach Ivory. I get to play with [defensive back] Tyler Hanks again, which I’m really looking forward to. I’m going to be ready to do anything they want me to do, on or off the field.”
Smith’s personal goal for 2020 is to become a fan favorite. “I love interacting with the fans,” he says. “Football’s all about community. That’s true at every level, but it’s especially true in the IFL. Versatility is my strength as an athlete, but as a player, my strength is approachability. I want fans to recognize me, to feel like they can come talk to me anytime.”
And his weaknesses? “Ummm… let’s see…” there’s a long pause. Players hate this question. “You’re too nice a guy?” I suggest.
“Yeah,” he laughs. “But seriously, I’d say it’s that I always want to be closer to the game. I like to blitz. I’m always looking for the TFL [tackles for loss]. I always want to get in and hit.”