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'Mr. Everything's Curtain Call': Why Texas A&M WR Ainias Smith Is Ready To Shine

Ainias Smith enters his senior season at Texas A&M ready for break free.

COLLEGE STATION -- Ainias Smith was disappointed when the Texas A&M plane took off for Atlanta, Ga. and SEC Media Days in late July. He was upset at the situation that cost him a trip to talk to dozens of national reporters and build his brand. 

Of course Smith was disappointed that he wouldn't be able to represent his university. As one of the faces of the 2022 Aggies roster, that's what leaders are supposed to do, right? 

It's over. Smith is leaving it in the past. He'll have to explode onto the SEC plane and the realm of college football in a different way now. 

"I'm fixing to go ahead and use this opportunity to my advantage," Smith said last Wednesday inside the media center at Kyle Field. "Let's just work." 

Smith's whirlwind summer came to a screeching halt just before A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, offensive lineman Layden Robinson and safety Demani Richardson departed for Atlanta. He was arrested on charges of DWI, possession of less than two ounces of marijuana and unlawfully carrying a weapon. 

The arrest ended up being a moot point. Days following SEC Media Days, A&M linebacker Chris Russell, the passenger riding with Smith, confessed to owning the drugs and loaded gun, leading to all charges against the Aggies' leading receiver being dropped

“I think he came out and explained it,” Fisher said. “You tell the truth and you move on and don’t worry about it. You can’t worry about that. You have to go play and do the right things and make the right decisions each and every day.”

It's not as if Smith needs a breakout campaign to put himself on the map in from of NFL scouts and the big-stage media. A rising senior, Smith has been one of the few constants in the Aggies' receiving room since arriving from Sugar Land in 2019. 

And it's not just his skills as a pass-catcher that make him one of the conference's more dangerous weapons. In 2020, Smith was asked to split reps between receiver and running back. On some plays, he'd take reps in the slot. On others, he'd be in the backfield. 

Versatility has been Smith's biggest blessing to seeing reps in Aggieland for three seasons. It's also made him a fan favorite, leading to nicknames like "Sub-Zero" or "Agent Zero." 

But to those in the building, he's known as "Mr. Everything" more than anything else. Why? It's easier to explain what he can't bring to the Aggies' offense rather than what he can. 

"He's involved in every play," A&M receivers coach James Coley said. "He's there chirping and talking. That's the way he approaches the game. For him, it's a mental edge.

"If he's not in or getting ready for another rep, he's in other people's reps. He's huge for the young guys because he's always talking to them."

Smith is the leader of the receiving corp. He's arguably the leader of the locker room, thus making his initial arrest that much more surprising. And hearing it from a coach will speak dividends toward the public eye, but teammates have come to his support as well.

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In Atlanta, Richardson told reporters that one mistake wouldn't define his role as a leader. Defensive back Antonio Johnson echoed a similar sentiment, stating how "he's the guy who will be whatever he needs to be." 

The Aggies will likely rely on their receiving corp to set the tone early in the season. Smith will remain the top target in the slot, but A&M is looking for two more options to step into starting roles. It could be veterans like Chase Lane, Jalen Preston or Moose Muhammad III. It could be a newbie such as Evan Stewart or Chris Marshall as well. 

Smith isn't worried about who wins the first-team reps. He holds Stewart, Marshall and the other young receivers to the same standard as the trio of vets returning. It brings out the A-game of all, something that is essential with a new quarterback leading the charge. 

"The standard is set," Smith said. "We're working to be greater than the standard." 

During the legal processing, Smith laid low. He kept faith that his name would be clear. He prayed for a higher power to take over. 

Smith's in clear as the season approaches. He's set personal goals but isn't trying to share them since they're close to the chest. 

Maybe one day he'll let the world know with his voice what they were. For now, Smith will let his hands and feet do most of the talking. 

He'll leave that troubling July night in the past and look forward to a brighter tomorrow. 

Smith will be a leader for the Aggies once more. It's what A&M needs of him starting Sept. 3 against Sam Houston. 

Said Johnson: “He’s just a leader overall, and lot of people look up to him, because of how he plays and who he is as a person." 

You can follow Cole Thompson on Twitter at @MrColeThompson

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