Smith hopes UFL will help lead to shot at NFL

November 20, 2009 7:59:00 AM

Danny P Smith -


Jamayel Smith''s situation in the United Football League is unique. 


Sure, the former Mississippi State wide receiver believes he belongs there, but as a player with the New York Sentinels in the first-year league, he feels a little out of place. 


The purpose of the UFL is to help players, especially ones who have seen time in the National Football League, get back there. 


Smith completed his college career with the Bulldogs in 2008 and was picked up by the Sentinels. 


Since he''s a rookie, there''s no sense of urgency. 


"I''ve got time," Smith said. "There are not that many players straight out of college in this league. (The UFL) is like a developmental league of the NFL. NFL teams will release players and they will come here to show the people in the NFL they can still play this game." 


Smith established himself as a primary receiver at MSU with 76 catches for 1,147 yards and six touchdowns, but he hasn''t been used as much in New York. 


Smith only has three catches for 45 yards for the Sentinels, but coach Ted Cottrell likes his future. 


"He''s a young guy and he''ll get his opportunities," Cottrell said. "He''s worked hard and made the team. He''s an excellent talent with good hands. He''ll get more involved in the offense." 


Smith thanked Cottrell for giving him an opportunity to showcase his talents and does hope an NFL team will take notice some day. 


Until then, he''s accepting instruction from coaches and teammates that will help make him a better player. 


"It''s a process to get me ready for the next level," Smith said. "They have encouraged me to be perfect and be a pro. If you are doing something, it''s important to do it 100 miles per hour, to the best of your ability and try to have no mental mistakes." 


New York (0-5) will try to break into to win column Friday in its final regular-season game against Las Vegas. 


Even though his team is winless, Cottrell has been amazed by the strides it has made. 


"The first day of practice was Sept. 14 and it''s been remarkable how we''ve been able to put a team together," Cottrell said. "When they got here, they had never seen each other, so working as a unit offensively and defensively, you would think it would be difficult, but they have been able to do that and put out a good brand of football." 


The UFL has played games every Thursday and Friday night this fall. Florida and California, the other teams in the UFL, play tonight. The championship will be Nov. 27. 


Former MSU linebacker Quinton Culberson, former University of Mississippi wide receiver Taye Biddle, and former Rebel defensive tackle McKinley Boykin are with the Florida Tuskers. 


The motto of the UFL is to serve communities with pride, dedication, and passion and to uphold a leadership role in the development of football worldwide. The league wants to provide fans with an affordable, accessible, exciting, and entertaining game experience. 


The rules and style of play is similar to the NFL, and UFL executives are experienced NFL franchise builders. Commissioner Michael Huyghue has 20 years of NFL management experience. 


Games have been televised by VERSUS, a national sports network that''s viewed in 75 million homes. 


Cottrell believes the UFL will grow because of the commitment of the players, coaches, and management. 


"We have a lot of guys who want to play, enjoy playing, and this gives them an opportunity to live their dream," Cottrell said. 


Cottrell said the television contract with VERSUS has given the league good exposure, and he expects the league to expand soon. 


"We''ll add two more teams and the TV people see that having more teams will make it more exciting," Cottrell said. "I think the people who tune in will see a lot of young players who are playing with a lot of passion."