Among the premier talents from the 2023 class is QB/DB Sterling Smith, who has built a reputation around the nation as a talent to be reckoned with.
Smith was named to Youth1's most recent edition of the Elite101 rankings, where he was awarded the #50 spot. For those unfamiliar, the Elite101 rankings have been a valuable resource for pinpointing the nation's absolute best athletes entering their 8th grade season.
"I was very thankful and excited to be named in the Elite101," Smith said.
"Being #50 is a surreal experience and motivates me to ball harder to move up that list. This ranking proves that it doesn’t matter the size, it’s about the heart of the player. This ranking solidified me a spot in talk amongst the best players in the 8th grade," he added.
Being named to the Elite101 rankings is recognition for the type of athlete Smith is.
Standing at 5'2" 106 lbs., Smith is a dual-threat QB with the ability to dice up a defense with his arm and his legs. He can make all the throws to win his team games, and turn up the heat by breaking free on designed run plays from the pocket. His quickness gives him the ability to improvise when pressure comes to evade defenders.
On defense, Smith thrives in coverage. He knows how to read the offense's play and make a break on the ball for a big interception. He may not be the biggest athlete on the field in stature, but Smith has that dog in him.
"At Quarterback I love the pressure that I have to hold. I love the leadership roles and responsibilities of being a quarterback. Scoring touchdowns is a great feeling," Smith said.
"I love defense because I get to hunt. On defense I can become an animal, I get to be that dog that not always shows at QB. I love hitting and catching INT’s. I love the swag and confidence that comes with defense," he added.
Smith is a competitor through and through, and that gives him the drive he needs to be an impact player.
"My favorite part of football is the competitive atmosphere and the team building aspect of the game," Smith said.
"I love bonding with teammates, but I also love winning," he added.
Sterling was recently selected to participate in the UA Next Game in January, which is Under Armour's showcase game for the elite 8th graders from around the country. Youth1 serves as a part of the selection committee for this event. Smith being invited to participate serves as a testament to his talent.
"I am a natural leader who gets the team fired up. I am a playmaker and at any time while I’m on the field I can make a big play happen. There is never a moment where you should count my team out if I am on the field," Smith said of his strengths.
"On defense I am lockdown and on offense I pick teams apart with my high football IQ and athletic ability. I am a dog on the field," he added.
2023 QB/DB Sterling Smith is one of the elite talents in his class. His dedication to his craft and his God given ability makes him a real force on the football field. He's only going to get better and shine brighter from here.
"I am going to work on my flexibility, speed, and try to get bigger and stronger," Smith said.
For more on Sterling Smith, check out his Youth1 Player Profile -> here.
View his highlights below.
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