With only two games remaining in the regular season, the West Virginia football team will be motivated by needing two more wins in order to gain bowl eligibility. However, when West Virginia takes the field at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, running back Dreamius Smith will have a bit more to play for.
Originally from Wichita, Smith is the lone Kansas native on the Mountaineer roster, so this weekend he will be playing in front of his family and friends.
"I’ll be close to home, so I’ll have a lot of family come up. They get to see me play," Smith said. "It’s always a good experience, (and) it’s a good feeling that your family gets to watch you play."
In addition to getting to visit his family, WVU’s trip to Lawrence also serves as a revisit to the school to which Smith committed out of high school. Smith committed under then-Jayhawks head coach Turner Gill.
Gill had a short career at Kansas, going 5-19 during his two years as head coach.
"I liked the way Turner Gill was as a person and a coach. I liked his offense and what he ran," Smith said. "I also liked the running back coach Reggie Mitchell. He had a good history of getting (running) backs to the next level, so I looked onto that.
"At that time, I just thought it was the best place for me to go."
But Smith’s plans to enroll at Kansas didn’t work out as he was ruled ineligible prior to his freshman season. Smith then enrolled at Butler Community College in his hometown of Wichita where he was able to revitalize his career.
At Butler, Smith turned into one of the top junior college prospects nationally and gained the attention of many major programs. But since things didn’t work out at Kansas the first time, he decided that he didn’t want to revisit his opportunity to be a Jayhawk.
"I knew from the start I wasn’t going to go back there," Smith said.
Smith enrolled at West Virginia and has been a vital backup to Charles Sims this season. He’s carried the ball 94 times for 470 yards and five touchdowns and has had a solid first season at WVU.
With Kansas coming into the game at just 2-7, it may be easy for some players on the WVU roster to overlook the Jayhawks, but for Smith, he knows the team shouldn’t do that.
"Charlie Weis is a good coach," Smith said. "Every game they’re getting better, and our coaches stress it hard, so we’ve seen it. We’re not going to go in there and take it lightly.
"They’re a good team and need to be respected, so we’re going to respect them and just try to play our game."
WVU takes on Kansas Saturday at noon.