FIU TIGHT END JONNU SMITH
Jonnu Smith arrived at FIU from Philadelphia by way of Ocala. Not exactly the typical path traveled for an FIU player. Then again despite having a typical last name, Smith does not have a typical first name nor is he a typical tight end. The freshman led FIU in receiving last season and after his 141-yard performance last week against Wagner, Smith leads the FIU receivers again. Being from Philadelphia, Smith is a huge fan of a couple of Philadelphia icons. If Smith keeps up his production at FIU, he could be on his way to becoming an FIU football favorite like another Smith who played tight end at FIU. Let's go Out of the Cage with Jonnu Smith . . . .
PP: You are listed as a tight end but you play a lot of different positions on offense. What is the most challenging one to play and which is your favorite?
JS: All of them have a little bit of a challenge to them. My favorite position I would have to say is the slot receiver because I am a mismatch in the slot and I like having that advantage over defenders.
JS: I can't cook a cheesesteak. Geno's has a pretty good cheesesteak in Philadelphia. That's the place to go up there. Besides the cheese, steak and the onions I add salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise. I like the cheesesteak sloppy.
PP: Outside of your family, what "Smith" first comes to mind when you hear your last name?
JS: I would say Will Smith because he's from Philadelphia. I watch "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" all the time. It is still one of my favorite shows to this day. I always watch it. Will Smith is a character.
JS: [Laughs] Yeah I know. I guess Will Smith and I have that in common. I moved down to Ocala for high school. FIU was the only school that offered me a scholarship. [Former FIU] coach [Mario] Cristobal and [former FIU] tight ends coach Dennis Smith were with me from day one in the recruiting process and then coach [Ron] Turner stayed with me when he took over at FIU. I'm thankful that FIU was loyal through the recruiting process.
PP: What other schools showed interest but did not offer a scholarship?
JS: Middle Tennessee, Ole Miss, UCF, USF all showed interest but they never followed through like FIU did.
PP: What tight end or receiver in the NFL do you admire or maybe see a little bit of his game in your game?
JS: San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. He is explosive. He is a mismatch for defenses. He's athletic. He can do everything. He is a freak of nature. Those long touchdowns he had against the Saints in that playoff game were amazing.
PP: What is it about the last name Smith, the number 87 and FIU tight ends? Former FIU tight end Sam Smith, who also wore number 87 like you, owns almost all the career FIU records for tight ends and you are closing in on some of his records.
JS: It's a Smith thing. You put the ball in our hands and we make big plays. I had never heard of Sam Smith until I got here but I'm not surprised that a Smith holds the FIU tight end records.
PP: Jonnu is not a common name. Most people when they first see or hear your name say the same thing. How did you get the name Jonnu?
JS: God gave it to my mom. She didn't have a name for me before I was born. She didn't know what she wanted to name me but right after I was born the hospital people asked her what are you going to name your son and "Jonnu" just came out of her mouth. There is no one in my family named John, Jon or Joe. I have never heard of any other person with my name. I embrace my name a lot and I thank my mom for it.