Linemen Smith and Brown team to form a massive duo for East Kentwood
Kentwood – If there is anything that Logan Brown and Mazi Smith have learned in their promising football careers it’s that bigger doesn’t necessarily translate into better.
As members of the largest offensive line in East Kentwood football history, and one of the largest ever in the O-K Conference Red Division, Brown and Smith agree that size alone hasn’t left them as two of the most sought after players in the Midwest.
Brown, at 6-7, 296 pounds, and the 6-4, 315-pound Smith have drawn interest from Michigan to Ohio State and Alabama say while size may have drawn scouts, it’s also produced incentive for opponents.
"I think it puts a target on your back," said Smith, who prefers playing defense to offense. "Teams look at you and think, ‘We’ve got to put two or three guys on him or blitz or do something.’ All that does is make you work harder. Sometimes when it’s one-on-one you don’t work as hard."
"I think you work twice as hard because you have higher expectations," Brown said. "But I don’t let that get to me. It goes in one ear and out the other."
While opponents drive the pair to improve, Brown said there is another explanation for the pair’s talent and that’s the competition against each other. Brown said there is a definite rivalry between the two, and a friendship that started when they met as freshmen.
"It’s really great between us," he said. "We try to outdo each other every rep. We go back and forth."
Brown and Smith are part of an impressive offensive line on a team that finished 4-5 last season. The Falcons open with Macomb L’Anse Creuse North on Aug. 25. The line averages 6-4, 276 pounds, putting it in line with many collegiate programs. Michigan’s projected starting five, for instance, averages 6-5, 316, and Division II power Grand Valley State’s offensive line measures 6-4, 298.
East Kentwood coach Tony Kimbrough said Smith and Brown haven’t relied on size to batter opponents. The two have spent countless hours in the weight room and attended high profile summer camps to hone their technique.
"You look at their size and strength, and they’re actually 50 pounds lighter. They’ve put in the work and time to get better. Things just don’t happen because you’re big," Kimbrough said. "They had a great offseason. When colleges offer, it’s not just because of size. It’s because they’ve done things. They’ll tell you they’ve put the work in."
While both have put the time in, Smith, a second cousin of former Kalamazoo Loy Norrix, Michigan State and NFL great T.J Duckett, said he’s different than Brown. Smith said playing defense has always been his passion. Brown’s first love is offense.
"It’s just different types of mentality," Smith said. "I like protecting and (Brown) kinda likes destroying things. I like mine better."
Brown said there was a time when he preferred playing defense.
"When I was a freshman I used to like defense more," he said. "I just feel like I’m better on offense. When you’re good at something that’s what you enjoy."