Former Buccaneer Dwight Smith Tackles College Recruiting
Dwight Smith is the only player to return two interceptions for touchdowns in a Super Bowl game, a feat he accomplished in 2003, when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers triumphed over the Oakland Raiders. Today, the eight-year NFL veteran is turning his attention to high school students with his new venture, ProfileAthletes.com.
“We’re trying to make [recruiting] an easier process by allowing college coaches and scouts to be able to view and access different profiles, videos, and academic records and earn students a scholarship,” says Smith. Although there are other businesses that offer recruiting services and Websites, he believes that his venture is unique in enlisting other professional athletes to join his effort. “We will be able to use our knowledge, our know-how of the game and the whole recruiting process to help these students.”
Smith was an All-State football player at Detroit’s Central High School. “But, in the inner city of Detroit, there’s only a few schools that are known for their sports,” he explains. “When it was time for me to go to school, my options were very limited.”
He sent highlights, press releases, and his statistics to a number of colleges. “After that I had four scholarship offers. I know that, if I had gotten into the process earlier, I would have had more options than that.” He attended the University of Akron and was drafted by the Buccaneers in 2001.
Smith’s ProfileAthletes.com is oriented to student athletes in all sports. “If you cheerlead, if you do gymnastics, row, whatever they are giving out scholarships for, I feel we can help a kid,” he says. “I’m not saying that we are the only way that a kid can get a scholarship. I am saying we are the ones who will give you a plethora of options to choose from when it’s time to go to school.”
The site is currently in development, and Smith hopes to have it launched in the next 60-90 days. When it’s active, student athletes will be invited to sign up for free and use the site to post highlights and other information. They will also be given a recruitment To-Do list so “you will know what you need to do to be college-ready,” Smith says.
“We’ll send out your stuff to all 1,700 schools [that offer scholarships],” he adds. “It’s hard for a parent or a high school coach to touch all 1,700 schools. We will do that. There are dollars being left on the table because small schools don’t know about the athletes who may not get the big-time scholarship but are good enough athletes to get a scholarship.”
Smith and his partners are launching the venture “doing all the funding in-house,” he says. Profit “will come down the line if we are doing a good enough job. First off, I’m trying to get these kids on the site and get them scholarships.”