Campus Currents

"Fat Rabbit" Makes the Jump
UNH football star Jared Smith '12 heads to the NFL.

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Jared Smith-Fat Rabbit
Rodney Clark

Fat Rabbit" sounds more like a storybook character than a football player. But the affectionate nickname aptly describes UNH defensive tackle Jared Smith '12, who—despite his 300-pound, 6-foot-4 frame—is fast and agile.

"He surprises his opponents because he's so quick," says quarterback Sean Goldrich '16. "He makes plays most guys his size can't. He can move in different directions fast, just like a bunny."

Smith is one of the best defensive tackles coach Sean McDonnell '78 has seen during his 14-year career at UNH. "His physical attributes are outstanding," McDonnell says. "As a defensive lineman, he's the best at running, jumping, and lifting."

NFL scouts noticed Smith's talent, too. Last fall, the Greencastle, Pa., native got an invitation to the scouting combine, a weeklong event in February where players audition for the NFL draft.

"This is something I've been wanting my whole life," says Smith, who graduated in December with a kinesiology degree. While a handful of UNH players have signed on to NFL teams as free agents, it's rare for a player to be drafted. The last time it happened was in 2007, when Corey Graham '07 was picked by the Chicago Bears. He went on to win the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012.

Smith's former teammates and coaches always believed his talent and drive would earn him a spot on an NFL team, but Smith wasn't taking any chances. "I have a lucky rabbit's foot," he said the month before the draft. "I keep rubbing it and thinking positive thoughts." On April 27, the third and final day of the draft, he put his lucky charm away: the Seattle Seahawks had chosen him in the seventh round—and "Fat Rabbit" got his storybook ending.

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