March 30, 2007

Lineman Mike Smith puts baseball on hold

Last fall, Nebraska defensive end Mike Smith thought there might be a chance he'd spend his spring as a member of the Husker baseball team.

Smith, an all-region baseball and football player at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas, Nev., had actually discussed the possibility of playing both sports with members of the Nebraska baseball staff. However, when Smith learned at the conclusion of the 2006 football season that he was being moved from D-end to offensive tackle, any thoughts he had of wearing the Husker pinstripes this spring were quickly dashed.

"During the season I asked Coach (Bill) Callahan if I could play baseball," Smith said. "He pretty much told me they were going to move me to offensive line. The spring is going to be really important and I'm going to need all the reps I can get."

At 6-foot-6, 285 pounds, Smith appears to have a build better suited for football than baseball, but don't be fooled. The former first baseman was good enough with a bat in high school that he attracted interest from professional baseball scouts.

"I could've been drafted. I was talking with a few major league teams," Smith said.

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