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Vandy’s Smith signs with Peru State

Aaron Smith

When he played his final football game at Vandebilt Catholic in November, Terriers senior Aaron Smith questioned if he’d ever put on the shoulder pads again.

With no offers from colleges on the horizon, weeks and months went by and more and more Smith began thinking his days of playing competitive football were over.

“It was a long process, and after football season was over, I didn’t think I was going to be able to play anywhere,” Smith said.

But with the help of Travis Carrell, a local man who used to be involved in the management of indoor football teams, Smith found a place to play.

On Thursday at Vandebilt’s Brother’s Hall, Smith signed to play at NAIA Peru State in Peru, Neb. It’s a two-year school in a town with a population under 1,000 and is an hour and 17-minute drive south of Omaha, Neb.

“Travis Carrell had the connection over there,” Vandebilt football coach Brad Villavaso said. “Travis does a good job with kids all over the parish. He does a good job with the youth in the parish. He helps kids from all over. He was able to find Aaron a place. He knew somebody who knew somebody and got it worked out. He gets the credit for the recruiting, and Aaron gets the credit for playing ball.”

Smith is a 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back. He said he will play both running back and fullback at Peru State.

“We had some connections,” Smith said. “I ended up visiting Peru State. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, players and the school. Everything was great. I am looking forward to being a Cougar, and I am going to go there and do my best.”

Villavaso said he was proud of Smith, who helped the Terriers to an 11-2 record, a district title and to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs this past season, for taking the next step to college.

“I am extremely proud of Aaron. He is stepping out on a ledge and going far from home to extend his football career,” Villavaso said. “I always knew Aaron loved football. They had a lot of schools that liked him, they watched him on film and finally he found a place. He is too good of a football player not to play for a few more years, and I’m happy for him.”

Smith ran for 846 yards last season, playing in the same back field as the state’s leading rusher, Elijah McGuire, a Louisiana-Lafayette signee. McGuire led the state in rushing with 2,094 yards from scrimmage.