10 things to know: LB Poly two-way star Juju Smith
NOV 27, 2013 7:47a ET
In the world of Southern California prep football, John "Juju" Smith is one of those guys. Juju is the No. 1 safety in the country, according to Scout.com and for Long Beach Poly, he's much more than that. On any given Friday night, Smith can be seen lining up at safety, wide receiver, running back, and quarterback in the Wildcat.
On Friday, Smith and Poly will face off against Mater Dei in the PAC-5 semifinals on FOX Sports West at 7 p.m. It will be a rematch of last season's PAC-5 championship game won by the Jackrabbits, 35-17. Smith had a touchdown catch and an interception in leading Poly to its 19th sectional title in school history.
In the meantime, here's 10 things you may not know about Smith:
His real name is John Smith and growing up people called him "John John" but it wasn't well received. His aunt came with "Juju" and a legend was born.
"They came up with 'Juju' and it just stuck with me all the way," he said.
Football was Smith's first sport but it wasn't always his favorite. Growing up he loved to play rugby.
"I wanted to go professional for rugby but rugby didn't offer (college) scholarships and if it did, it was half," he said. "We couldn't afford it so I stuck with football."
Smith used to play club rugby but stopped playing shortly before his junior year after colleges started offering scholarships for football.
Smith has to go with the 2008 film starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder."
"That movie's funny," he said. "I don't know if you watched it or not but that movie's hilarious."
Who would play you in a movie?
"He's a good guy," Smith said. "I like him."
Best sports memory
Last season's win in the CIF PAC-5 championship game is Smith's best sports memory. It was the first CIF title for Long Beach Poly since 2008.
"The locker room postgame was crazy," Smith recalled.
As a sophomore, Smith was vying for a spot at wide receiver. The only numbers available were Nos. 82 and 84. No. 9 was open as well.
"I was competing for the spot and I earned it so I just stuck with it all the way," he said.
Before every game Smith says a prayer.
"I give thanks to God for all," Smith said. "I have to do it."
Smith, who's mother is Samoan, loves a traditional Samoan dish called Pilikaki.
When he's not on the football field, Smith loves to play video games, especially "Call of Duty" and "NCAA Football."
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