Days after 2014 running back Markel Smith (St. Louis/St. John Vianney) committed to Missouri, Vianney coach Mike Diffley spoke about Smith’s assets and intangibles on the football field.
All of the intangibles seemed to fall under the same common denominator -- humility.
Diffley said Smith, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound back, has the physical tools to be a special player on the FBS level. He rushed 258 times for 2,405 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior. What will take him far, however, is his ability to be coachable and his drive to be better than he was the day before.
“I mention all the time, there are certain things all Division I players have,” Diffley said. “I think the most impressive part about Markel is his attitude and the way he approaches things. He’s very humble; he’s a team guy. I think his unselfishness makes the whole program go.”
“At the high school level, where he’s more gifted than most of the people on the field, it’s very easy to put the ball in his hands and watch him run. Because of his attitude, in a system like Missouri’s, he knows he’s going to have to learn to run better routes and pass block. Because of the way he approaches things, he’s going to improve and improve the people around him.”
Smith, who committed to Missouri on Nov. 1, is a player with 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash. He has an additional offer from Iowa, and he’s garnered interest from Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. Missouri was the first offer for Smith, who shined in June at a Tigers camp in St. Louis.
As Smith prepares for the offseason -- and a productive spring and summer -- he’s looking to become a better all-around back. Diffley believes he’ll accomplish his goals by sticking with got him this far.
“He’s just a humble kid who likes to stay out of the limelight,” Diffley said. “I really feel that’s his greatest asset for any program. He’s going to get better than he is right now simply because of his attitude.”