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ANDREW SMITH of Pymatuning Valley will head to Edinboro to continue his education and football career in the fall.

Pymatuning Valley basketball coach Jeremy Huber, football coach Jason Root and former principal Jeff Meddock had a lasting effect on Andrew Smith. So much so, the PV senior wants to pursue a career in the same field as that trio.

To that end, Smith, the son of Jacki Robinson and stepson of Roger Robinson, will pursue a degree in education while playing football for Edinboro University.

“I want to become a teacher and football coach eventually,” Smith said. “I want to be like (the late) Mr. (Jeff) Meddock and Coach (Jeremy Huber). I want to be a principal like them and help kids.

“Mr. Meddock had a huge impact on me. I like Coach Huber. He pushes you to be better every day. Coach (Jason) Root is a great coach because he makes everybody like him. You respect him so much you’d do anything to win a game for him. Those three had a huge impact on me. I want to be like them, help kids and go into the education field as well.”

Smith chose the Fighting Scots over a handful of other schools, in part because of a local connection to the school, former Grand Valley football coach and athletic director and current Edinboro coach Jim Henson. It didn’t hurt that Henson made it clear to Smith he wanted the quarterback to play for the Fighting Scots.

“I really like Coach Henson and Coach Browning,” Smith said. “They have a good program. Right now, the NFL is looking at their quarterback. They know how to develop quarterbacks. They have a good chance of making the playoffs next year. They’re nationally ranked in Division II and they’re good academically in the field of education.

“Ever since the end of football, they’ve been talking to me. I was also looking at Notre Dame College, Lake Erie and (Youngstown State). (Edinboro) made me feel more important. I felt they wanted me more, plus Coach Henson used to coach against us and he coached against my uncle. He’s a really good coach.”

Smith will likely see little time as a freshman. However, he believes it will be a valuable learning experience just to be part of the team.

“They want me to come in as a quarterback and learn mechanics,” Smith said. “I never had a quarterbacks coach. They want to learn the drop steps and release points. I’ll learn all that next year. They said when they were recruiting that if I can’t translate as a quarterback, I’m athletic enough to play anywhere.”

A starter at quarterback since he was a sophomore, Smith thinks the extra work he put in benefited him and made a college career possible.

“Over the years I’ve been playing, I’ve developed a good work ethic,” Smith said. “I set a goal in my mind and every day I push to reach it. Every day, I’m in the weight room in the summer, preparing. My coaches, friends and family feel I can accomplish anything. I put (the extra work) to the test this year in football and basketball. It paid off. I’m a firm believer that you get out of something what you put into it.”

That work ethic comes from a desire to be the best and a hatred of losing.

“One thing that’s the hardest thing for me is I can’t stand to not be the best at something,” Smith said. “I work at it until I am the best. I love to be the guy that has to make the shot or throw the pass when it’s 4th and 10 with 50 seconds left and we’re down.”

Earning the starting job at such an early age also helped Smith to secure a spot at Edinboro.

“It definitely helped me that I got that much experience,” Smith said. “The game became slower and I could make decisions faster. I don’t know what (my career) would’ve been like (without starting for three years). It helped me to be the player I am now.”

It also didn’t hurt Smith that he had good teammates around him. he makes a point of trying to let them know just how instrumental they were in his career.

“I want to thank my teammates,” Smith said. “All of them from my sophomore, junior and senior seasons. They all helped me out. They made the plays. They were fun to play with. They’ll always be in my memories. I’ll never forget them.”

Smith knows when he suits up for Edinboro, it won’t be for just himself. He’ll be carrying every one of those teammates with him.

“They call me up all the time and say they can’t wait to see me in college,” Smith said. “When I play I want to do awesome because it will kind of be like they’re living college football through me.”

The support he got at home played a role for Smith, too.

“When I had a bad game, Roger was there for me to vent,” Smith said. “He would listen and give me advice. He and my mom came to all my games. My mom kept my head straight. I’d come home and be like, ‘Hey, did see you my picture in the paper?’ And she’d say, ‘See those clothes on the floor, pick them up.’ It was a nice shot of reality from Mom.

“Tony Noxon had a huge impact on me, too. He’s the reason I have such a strong arm. We must have thrown a baseball or football every night, all night, until it was dark. When other kids were at home playing video games, I was in the back yard playing football or baseball with my brothers, Jason and Tom.”

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