Alston Smith Headlines Cox’s 2012 Class

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The 2010 season was Alston Smith ‘s first on the varsity level. For the first half of the year he played both ways, starting at left offensive tackle and right defensive end. Cox (Virginia Beach, VA) head coach Bill Stachelski decided to make a move for the second half of the season.

“Having him go both ways last year was a coaching mistake,” said Stachelski, whose 2010 squad finished with a 6-5 overall record that included an appearance in the Group AAA, Eastern Region playoffs. “Our offense is a ball control offense, so he was on the field a while and then had to play defense. It was his first year playing varsity, and by the time the first half was over, we weren’t getting what we needed out of him. We decided on playing him on one side of the ball only, moving him down inside to tackle, and that’s where he flourished.”

Smith, the son of NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith, finished the regular season with 30 tackles including six sacks and four tackles for loss.

“It was him and Ross [Burbank] on the inside,” Stachelski said. “Basically, one player would get double-teamed and the other would make the play. In most cases, we shut down the other team’s running game, at least up the middle.”

Smith measured in at 6-3, 245 pounds last fall. These days, he is closer to 6-4 and weighs close to 260 pounds. He is growing off the field, and Coach Stachelski expects continued growth on the gridiron as well.

“He is coming into his own in terms of his body,” Stachelski said. “He was big and a little awkward earlier, but his technique is fantastic based upon the work he does with his dad. Last year was his first year on the varsity. I think a big year is in store for him this year. Now, he knows what the speed is like. He knows to play a little banged up. I hope he’s used to being out there the entire game, because I want to play him on both sides next season.”

Old Dominion has “pretty much offered,” Stachelski said, and a few ACC schools and Western Michigan have also expressed serious interest. Then there is Virginia Tech, alma mater of Smith’s famous father. If an offer comes from Tech, Stachelski believes it is a “foregone conclusion” that Alston becomes