Former Rutherford County Schools Student Josh Smith Joins MTSU Football Staff

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Josh Smith (Photo from Rutherford County Schools)

By Barton Henley

After spending his high school football career in Murfreesboro, former Oakland Patriot Josh Smith is back.

Smith was the nationwide second ranked inside linebacker for the 2015 recruiting class, according to 247Sports. Smith now shifts his focus to promoting his hometown team to potential athletes looking for a school and football program.

“Murfreesboro helped mold me as a football player,” Smith said. “More importantly, the city molded me into the man I am today.”

MTSU head football coach Derek Mason – who was hired in December of 2023 – allowed Smith the opportunity to coach on his staff.

“I have known Josh since he was 16 from when I recruited his older brother so having him on our staff is fantastic,” Derek Mason said. “Josh is bright, articulate and a terrific teacher. His energy and passion for the game of football and his ability to connect are dominant traits I have seen in him that will make him a great football coach. He takes every part of what he does seriously, focusing on growth, opportunity, and the ability to effect change.”

In Mason’s introductory press conference after being hired, he said that Rutherford County is the most fertile recruiting ground in the state. Smith said he is excited about the opportunity to work with local athletes if they decide to stay home to play for MTSU.

“You can accomplish everything you want at MTSU,” Smith said. “You can accomplish any football related goal in Murfreesboro. Our goal is to find guys who can come in and contribute quickly.”

Most recently, Smith was on the Vanderbilt University football coaching staff.

“It feels unreal to be coaching in my hometown,” Smith said. “I am extremely grateful and humbled to be able to do it.”

Smith credits many of the Oakland football coaches with pouring into him and helping him succeed.

“The [Oakland coaches] helped me in so many different ways,” Smith said. “Small things, big things, and really all things. They helped mold me into the player I became.”

At Vanderbilt, Smith earned SEC Academic Honor Roll status in 2016 and 2017 while playing in 46 games over his four year career.

Smith graduated Vanderbilt in 2018 then began coaching at his alma-mater.

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