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December 30, 2010

Redshirt report: Xavier Smith

Missouri offered Xavier Smith after he impressed the coaching staff at a one-day camp in Kansas City in June 2009. A year later, Smith arrived in Columbia, ready to make an impact in the secondary.

For most of preseason camp, Smith and fellow freshman E.J. Gaines were neck-and-neck on the depth chart, competing with older players for the fourth cornerback position. Gaines, however, won the competition, and Smith took a redshirt during his first season as a Tiger.

PowerMizzou.com: After the competition during camp, were you disappointed that you had to take a redshirt?

Xavier Smith: "At first, yeah, but throughout the season, I took advantage of everything they give the redshirts, as far as the running and getting bigger, faster, stronger, and then I actually did like it, redshirtting."

PM: Why do you say that?

Smith: I got more comfortable with the system, more comfortable with the competition, and I feel like it just benefitted me.

PM: You and E.J. are pretty close, right?

Smith: Yeah.

PM: Were you guys close coming in or did that develop?

Smith: Yeah, we were close coming in and then we ended up being roommates.

PM: Even though you redshirtted, was it cool to see him out there on the field?

Smith: Oh yeah. I support him 100 percent.

PM: Do you feel like you have the opportunity to make an early impression on the coaches for next season?

Smith: Yeah. The older guys said this is the time to get evaluated, to go 100 percent. The older guys are doing a lot of coaching, like Carl Gettis, Kevin Rutland, Kip Edwards, they're doing a lot of coaching and helping me out here.

PM: What are your goals for next season?

Smith: To get in the mix at corner. That's my biggest goal right now.

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