had an opportunity to sit down with newly signed RB Ian Smart
on Sunday just prior to the break of the Jets rookie minicamp. Smart, the local product from West Babylon and CW Post College broke the NCAA career touchdown record last season (95). After he was passed up in last week's NFL draft, Smart was invited to tryout for the Jets this weekend. He made the most of it, when the Jets offered him a contract and signed him yesterday. Polite and seemingly focused, he was nice enough to answer a few questions for us.
What was your feeling when you found out the Jets decided to sign you yesterday?
"Happiness. I thank Coach Edwards and the Jets organization for giving me the opportunity. I'm fired up and now my main objective is to make this team.
Ian, were you surprised that you were not drafted?
I was definitely surprised. I thought I would get a lot more action but as I said before, I'm glad I'm here and plan to make the best of it.
Do you feel additional pressure being a local product from Long Island?
I don't feel there is extra pressure. I'm just happy to be playing in my home town here on Long Island. Being close to home I get a lot of fan support. My family is here and now my teammates are here. It's good to have a lot of support.
After the tremendous numbers you put up in college, what would it mean to you to do something at the NFL level.
"It would mean a lot. It's always been a childhood dream and always been an accomplishment that I've wanted to realize. To make this team would be huge for me. I'd be very happy for myself."
Obviously your best chance to make the team is as a kick returner. How do you fell about that?
I'm excited. The position is wide open according to Coach [Edwards], so that's something I am going to go for. I'm going to keep working hard to try to get that position.
Are you satisfied making this team as a special teamer or do you have loftier goals as to maybe being a featured part of this offense?
I'm here to help this team out as much as possible and I'll do anything I can to help this team get back to the playoffs and win a Superbowl.
What do you say to those who belittle your accomplishments because you came from a small program and Division II?
All I can say is football is football no matter what level you play at. If you can play, you can play. Me coming out here and showing people that I can play and possibly make this team speaks for itself.
What are the biggest things that Ian Smart brings to the table??
Determination and hard work. I'm coachable, willing to learn and also willing to help out in any way I can.
Check back to Jets Insider.com often for more minicamp interviews with QB Chad Pennington and WR's Curtis Conway and Sanana Moss. CLICK HERE for pictures from Jets minicamp.