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Getting to Know Jacquies Smith sat down for a Q&A with the defensive end.

Check out some of the best photos from Jacquies Smith's first season with the Bucs.

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The low-down:Jacquies Smith took the hard road to the NFL. He was undrafted and played on four different teams in his first three seasons, including one in Canada. In the fall of 2014, he was signed by his fifth professional team - the Buccaneers. By the midpoint in the season, he had earned a starting spot at defensive end.Q: When and how did you start with playing football?
A: "I started playing at the age of seven. My mom put me in football. I had always played in the neighborhood where I grew up but I never had played organized ball until I was about seven. My mom put me in and I started off playing running back. I actually was a pretty good running back for a long time. That's really how I got started playing. My mom just put me in."

Q: Did you play any other sports growing up?
A: "I did. I was really into basketball. It was close between football and basketball. Basketball used to be one of my favorite sports to play. I also used to play baseball as well until I got hit in the calf with a ball and that was it for me."

Q: What was your high school career like? What position did you play?
A: "I started off playing middle linebacker and wide receiver. I was pretty good at both. I ended up moving to varsity at the end of my freshman year. My sophomore year I was on varsity and I broke my elbow the second game of the season so I had to sit out the whole year. It was disappointing because I felt like I had a good first game and that I had earned the starting position. I didn't start the first game but my coach told me I was going to start the second one. I felt like I was going to have a pretty good season. My junior year we went from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and I went from playing middle linebacker to playing outside linebacker and defensive end. I had a great junior year. I was all-district and just kind of blossomed into a natural defensive end. As I got to my senior year I had a great year, all-state and all that type of stuff and that's really how that pretty much went."

Q: What was the recruiting process like for you?
A: "I originally committed to Baylor. I kind of had the feeling that I wanted to stay close to home when I went to college. Then, as I thought about it, I ended up de-committing and opening back up. A lot of people were telling me to take my time and let the process go and as I did it I ended up venturing off and thinking about getting out of Texas and doing something different. I had traveled a lot when I was younger playing basketball and I thought that maybe I should try something different and see how it was. It really came down to Michigan State, Missouri and Nebraska. A lot of people thought I was going to go to Michigan State but I ended up committing to Missouri. I liked the atmosphere when I went to visit Missouri. I liked the fact that the team was kind of split between guys from Texas and guys from Missouri. It made me feel like I was at home when I was away. I liked it out there. It was more of a family atmosphere."


Q: How do you think your career went at Missouri?**
A: "I feel like I left a little bit on the table honestly. My senior year didn't go as well as I wanted it to because I got injured. Basically when I got back it was just a fight for stats. I didn't get to meet the expectations that I wanted to battling the injury. I feel like I had a good senior year anyway. I still made All-Big 12 and all that type of stuff. My junior year I probably had the most fun. We had a great team. I kind of came into my own. It was me, Aldon Smith, Dominique Hamilton… a lot of guys that are still in the league now. When Aldon got hurt it kind of allowed me to blossom and come into my own. The pressure was on me a lot on the edge because we had a lot of younger guys behind us. I played well week in and week out when he was hurt."

Q: When the draft came around, were you expecting to be drafted?
A: "I did. I know coming out my senior year I was being projected to go anywhere from three to seven. I didn't think I was going to go the first day just because of my injuries and stuff. I didn't really get to show as much film as I would have liked my senior year. I really did think I was going to get drafted. I still, to this day, don't know how I didn't. But it didn't go that way and I had to take another route. There were a lot of scouts that said they were interested but it just didn't shake out that way."

Q: You go into your first training camp with the Dolphins, what was that like?
A: "It was crazy. They had a great group of guys there and a great defensive line. I thought I had a pretty good chance to make the team. I was having a pretty good camp I thought. It just kind of came down to a numbers game and they felt that I didn't fit in one of those numbers. I probably didn't get as much preseason action as I would have liked."


Q: Then after that you went in played in Canada. What was that like?**
A: "Yeah, I went to Canada for three or four games. I was doing well up there. I was doing well football-wise but mentally I felt like I didn't really think that I was supposed to be there. I wanted to continue playing football so it was just one of those things where I dove in head-first without really knowing what I was getting into. It was probably the first time I ever got home sick. I've never been home sick in my entire life but when I got there I actually was really home sick and I didn't want to be there so I talked to the coaches and they let me go."

Q: You bounced around on a couple teams before you landed in Tampa. When you were signed by the Bucs, what were your expectations?
A: "I got to Tampa in Week 2. I didn't really know what to think. This was my fourth team. I just knew they claimed me off waivers so that kind of gave me the idea that they saw some preseason stuff to know that they liked and they wanted to get their hands on me. My mindset, honestly, was to come in and be able to grasp the scheme and help the team out as much as possible. If being a starter came with it… when you're growing up playing football you want to be a starter. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I didn't think I was capable of starting in the National Football League because I did. I got in there and I did what I needed to do. Once I got an understanding of what was going on with the playbook and what Lovie and those guys were asking of me I think my play picked up. I was always confident in my abilities, it was just getting that chance."

Q: Once you were named the starter, what was that like?
A: "That was what I had been working for. I had been working to get the opportunity and when I got it, I had to make the most of it. You take a deep breath and you kind of sit back and realize that everything you've worked hard for is finally starting to come to the forefront. It just took a lot of patience and lot of talking to myself and talking to the man upstairs to get to that point."


Check out photos of the Buccaneers' current roster.

Q: When you look back at last year, how will you remember it?**
A: "I feel like I played pretty good for the chances that I got and made the most of my opportunity to start the last eight games. But I honestly think that I'm just scratching the surface. I think that I can be a whole lot better. I consider myself a double-digit sack guy. I really do think that. That's one of my goals for the next year – just be a consistent starter every week and give the team what they need every week. I see myself as a double-digit sack guy and that's why I'm working hard right now. Some people probably still don't even know who I am. That's one of the things that I'm going to work on this year – work hard and not to be a breakout guy, but to be a consistent end week in and week out."

Q: What's your proudest non-football achievement?
A: "Probably just going around my neighborhood and around the area that I grew up in and talking to kids. That's one of the things that I wanted to do, go back and give back to the community and tell them the great story about working hard. Coming up in the neighborhood where I come from, it's not the best. Opportunities are few and far between but just motivating those kids so they know that if they do the right thing, they can get out and make something of themselves."

Q: If you weren't playing football right now what do you think you'd be doing?
A: "I'd probably be into coaching. I talk to my high school coaches a lot. I probably would already be back there coaching or in college coaching." **

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Q: What's your favorite TV show?**
A: "Probably Martin."

Q: How about your favorite movie?
A: "I've got a few movies. I like Training Day, Wolf of Wall Street, Friday Night Lights. Let's go with those three." Q: What's your favorite food?
A: "I love seafood."

Q: What kind of music do you have on your iPod?
A: "A lot of hip-hop and R&B. My favorite artist - I'm liking Future a lot right now. I like K Camp. That's what I'm listening to a lot right now."

Q:  If you could have three people for dinner, from today or the past, who would you pick?
A: "Kobe Bryant, Lisa Raye and my grandfather."

Q: Who is an athlete you looked up to as a kid?
A: "I was a big Randy Moss guy. He was my favorite player growing up. In basketball I always liked Michael Jordan but Kobe is one athlete that I still look up to this day. If I could sit down and pick their brains, man, that would be awesome. Those are just some great guys who have done it at a very high level."

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