Earlier this week Mike Klis of the Denver Post wrote an article on recent Broncos draft pick CB Alphonso Smith. The article highlighted Smith as a college student during finals week at Wake Forest. What happened next could be compared to an Elway two-minute game winning drive. Michael Earls, classmate of Alphonso Smith recalls the amazing story…
“He was a very funny and nice guy throughout the semester, but I didn’t really appreciate how awesome he was until the day of our exam,” Earls said while sharing the story last month.
A week before the final, the class professor assigned 10 essay questions to study. Ten? Only one would be picked for the final — by a dart throw. With his Demon Deacons preparing for an Orange Bowl meeting against Louisville and finals in other classes, Smith quickly figured studying nine essay topics for naught was a poor economical use of his time.
Earls studied all 10 essay topics, but on the day of the exam, Smith walked in with a cunning smile and tip for his classmates to place all focus on essay question No. 2. And for assurance, let him be the one to throw the dart.
“Everyone was freakin’ out,” Smith said. “They were like, ‘Oh, my God, I need to pass this class.’ I was like, ‘Hey, I need to pass this class too.’ I said, ‘Don’t worry about it, we’re going to do No. 2.’ ”
No. 2 was Smith’s football number at Wake Forest. He is wearing No. 33 with the Broncos after he was acquired through an eyebrow-raising draft trade last month.
Three years earlier, it was time for the final exam and the professor asked for a volunteer to throw the dart. Smith was unanimously chosen.
“He gave the class a little wink, stepped up and absolutely nailed the spot marked No. 2,” Earls said.
Once the eruption rarely heard from a college history class had calmed, Smith announced his strategy to his professor and classmates. Rather than laboriously researching 10 topics, he picked the subject he knew best, studied it thoroughly — and then practiced throwing darts all week.
Neither Earls or Smith could specifically remember the topic of essay question No. 2, only that it was comprehensively covered during the semester — and they aced it. Smith wound up graduating with a degree in history.
Whether or not Alphonso Smith will live up to the enormous expectations of being a draft pick involved in the Cutler trade is still to be determined. However, a familiar pattern is forming in Denver. Like the New England Patriots, the Broncos are building the team around intelligent, resourceful, and pride driven athletes. Less talented players that overachieve and display good character on and off the field are in vogue. Does this formula work? Just ask the Patriots.
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