Smaha Adjusting To Defensive End

DEKALB-Three years ago Austin Smaha was the NIC-10s football MVP and top rushing threat as a running back for Belvidere North. This year he’ll be using his speed to rush quarterbacks for NIU.

Smaha is using spring practices to continue to evolve as a defensive end.  He made the transition to that position last year from linebacker.

"I think there’s a lot of room for improvement for me, and I think I can get out there and really show the coaches something and maybe become a good defensive end here," says Smaha to Eyewitness News.

NIU’s coaches prefer lighter, faster defensive ends who can get after the quarterback.

"We go up against big offensive lines and we try to use our speed, so I think they saw that in me," says Smaha.

Still Smaha will have to bulk up to play the position.

"They want about 20 more pounds. That’ll put me at 245, so a little bit more heavy then I’m used to, but that’s alright," says Smaha.

How hard will it be to add that weight?

"It’s been a struggle so far. I’ve put on about 101 pounds," says Smaha. "The next 15 will be a little rough. I’ve just go to get a good diet and keep working out."

Smaha will have every opportunity to play this fall. The Huskies graduated all four of their starting defensive linemen.  Smaha knows his days of playing strictly on special teams are over.

"I really think I have the attributes that can help out this team and I want to show it."

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