By Gary Lloyd
PINSON — They call it a minor setback for a major comeback.
That’s the case for Pinson Valley senior cornerback Juray Smith.
At an April track meet in Scottsboro, Smith was participating in the long jump. The board was slippery when Smith hit it, and he went down, crying on the ground. He knew he suffered a significant injury right away. He tore the ACL in his left knee.
“I’ve never felt that kind of pain before,” said Smith, who has dislocated his right knee in the past.
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound cornerback who also returns kickoffs and punts started running last month. For most of the summer, he built strength back up in his knee and hamstring. He watched practices from the sidelines at the field at the Old Rock School in Pinson. He got used to that, though the experience has built a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. He has much to prove this season.
The summer before a football player’s senior season is important if he wants to play college football. Smith had been garnering interest from a number of schools, most of which wanted him to showcase his talent at their camps. He wasn’t able to go to any due to the injury.
The target return dates for Smith are Sept. 12 at Gardendale or Sept. 19 against Clay-Chalkville. He’d like to be back for Friday’s season opener at Hartselle.
“My goal is to stay positive and just trust God that I’ll be able to still come back strong and don’t get down on myself, basically have faith that I’ll have what it takes to come back out,” Smith said.
Pinson Valley head coach Matt Glover said he’s not worried about Smith mentally.
“He knows what to do,” he said.
Smith was the 2013 The Trussville Tribune defensive player of the year from Pinson Valley. He posted 54 tackles, 10 pass breakups and six interceptions and was also big in the return game, taking a kickoff and punt back for touchdowns. Smith grabbed two of his interceptions in Pinson Valley’s big 23-20 overtime win over Hartselle in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. He wants to do better this season.
“I want this to be the season that I really show my ability to my highest point, to really go out with a bang,” Smith said.
Glover sees Smith playing somewhere at the next level.
“He wants to play at the next level, so I think that’s why he’s working his butt off to try to get back to show somebody he can do it,” Glover said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.