(Player Spotlight) - J-p Smith #27 - Defensive End and Specialty Teams
J-p was a transfer student to Vanden in 1984. From the first time I met him, I liked him. During Hell Week he earned a reputation as a hard-hitting machine, and won a starting position as a defensive end. A true nice guy with guts and grit on the gridiron. J-p was an old-school-style player. He would stick you, stick you, and stick you. He never lost his cool like some of us; he just performed—and performed extremely well. J-p played defensive end and slot-back, and was on all the specialty teams. When we needed to contain the outside, shut down the run or air defense, J-p was there making his presence known. He never failed and was always making an impact every play. J-p was probably one of the more well-rounded players on the team. He could catch, run, lay out opposing players, and intercept passes. J-p had the size and demeanor to play linebacker or fullback. He had the tenacity to take on players much larger than him. There was not much J-p could not do in 1984. To put it plainly, he was tough. When I look back on those days 30 years later, J-p is at the top of the list of guys I liked playing with. He made the Viking program proud. Thanks for the memories, J-p. You took names.