The accolades keep rolling in for Enoch Smith
The class of 2014 Michigan State commit continues to bring in awards for his excellent play at defensive tackle in his senior season at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago.
The dynamic athlete recently caught up with Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. on Spartan Nation Radio. Smith revealed some exciting news, and talked extensively about his family life, including his relationship with his autistic younger brother, Trayvon.
Since committing to Michigan State in April, Smith has shown significant strides in his game. He has been an integral part of a Mount Carmel defense that has notched four shutouts and limited offenses to an average of 6.6 points per game thus far this season.
Following an Illinois Class 7A State Championship last season, the Caravan are 9-1 and are set to play a second round contest on Friday. A number of media outlets are ranking Mount Carmel as one of the best teams in the state. The Chicago Tribuneâ€™s most recent rankings had the Caravan at No. 2
Many have also taken note of Smithâ€™s play. In the draft for the West Coast Bowl, the Chicago native was picked 30th overall, out of only 100 players to be selected, to participate in the postseason all-star game. The contest will take place on January 26 in Carson, California.
Smith also announced on Spartan Nation Radio that he will play in the International Bowl, another high school all-star game, on February 5 in Austin, Texas. Smith will represent Team USA in a game between a team of Americaâ€™s best high school players and a squad composed of international high school players.
â€œWhen the blessings come, they all come in at one time,â€ Smith said.
â€œIâ€™m actually grateful to have this opportunity because I never thought that any of this would happen to me. As it comes in, Iâ€™m just in awe like everyone else.â€
Any high schooler in this position could easily use such an opportunity to stroke his ego and take all the credit, but this senior has no intention of stealing the spotlight: he passes off the credit to his parents.
â€œMy parents brought me up right and I thank them for everything theyâ€™ve done,â€ Smith said.
Family andÂ faith play major roles in Smithâ€™s life. His faith factored into his decision to attend MSU. Smith likes the fact that many members of the coaching staff are upstanding, honest men of faith in their personal lives. He feels at home in East Lansing, and like part of the Spartan family. Such a quality is important for Smith, who comes from a family-oriented background.
â€œOutside of football, Iâ€™m a junior deacon, Iâ€™m a big brother to two younger brothers and Iâ€™m a younger brother to my older sister,â€ Smith said. â€œIâ€™m a mentor to some and Iâ€™m actually have older people tell me that they look up to me because of how I carry myself and how I handle myself.â€
Like the Spartan family, the Smith family is always supportive. Enoch considers himself lucky to be part of such a loyal family.
â€œMy parents mean the world to me. Theyâ€™re my motivation to do everything that I do. I tell my mom when Iâ€™m older, sheâ€™ll never have to work another day of her life and sheâ€™ll life off of me, just because of the sacrifices my parents make for me on a daily basis,â€ Smith said. â€œMy dad waking up at 4:30 in the morning going to his job, my mom, sheâ€™s coming home about 6:30, 7 oâ€™clock at night from a hard day of work to pay my school tuition. Iâ€™m just grateful for every opportunity because I know some kids wish to be in the position Iâ€™m in. I just have to take full advantage of every opportunity I get.â€
The Smith family is also united by Enochâ€™s younger brother, Trayvon. When Trayvon was three, he was diagnosed with autism. Doctors said he would never be able to carry on a conversation. But thanks in part to the support and love of his family, Trayvon is very functional now.
As Trayvon and Enoch have grown up together, the two have developed a strong relationship and connection. They have a deep love for one another, strengthened by the bond of brotherhood.
â€œI need my brother more than he needs me. Trayvon, heâ€™s one of my biggest inspirations,â€ Smith said. â€œIf I could switch places with him, just for one day, itâ€™d be the best gift ever. At times you can see him just looking off into the sky, just thinking. Iâ€™m just thinking, â€˜Man, I wonder what Trayvon is thinking.â€™ After every football game that I have, I make sure Trayvon is the first one I see. I give him a hug and let him know that I love him and I appreciate him coming to my games because heâ€™s one of my biggest cheerleaders.
â€œHe goes to school wearing Michigan State shirts, heâ€™s wearing my state championship stuff. Every time I go to a Michigan State basketball or football game, he lets everybody know that Enoch Smith is his big brother and heâ€™s proud of that, and Iâ€™m proud to have him as my little brother.â€
Some have trouble interacting with autistic children. They do not know how to act in front of them. But as Enoch explained, itâ€™s easy.
â€œTreat them as if theyâ€™re a blessing from God because he doesnâ€™t put more on you than you can bear,â€ Smith said. â€œI know this from personal experiences, because at times I would sit down and cry and say, â€˜God, how come you made my brother like this?â€™ But then Iâ€™d stop thinking of it like that because I know itâ€™s a blessing; because I know I wouldnâ€™t have Trayvon any other way. Iâ€™ve been with him since the day he was born, and heâ€™s just a gift from God. We have our ups and our downs, but I wouldnâ€™t trade Trayvon for the world.â€
Even as Enoch Smith continues to haul in accolades, he remains thankful for what he has. The senior at Mount Carmel High School not has only superb skills on the field, but a great sense of humility off of it. A loving young man who comes from a genuine, supportive family, Smith should have no problem fitting in once he arrives in East Lansing.
It looks like Mark Dantonio didn’t just recruit a great football family, but the Spartan Nation gained another amazing family!