By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Much of what Jason Matthew Smith brings to the huddle traces back to Cincinnati - his three years as a starting lineman at Mariemont; four years earning a bachelor's degree in theater from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; and his movie debut as a featured, non-speaking character in Airborne, the 1993 Jack Black-Seth Green rollerblading movie shot in Greater Cincinnati.
He turned to acting after Ohio State, Tennessee and Ball State aggressively recruited the 6-foot-2, 190-pound high school senior.
"I went into the Tennessee locker room, and saw those monsters, and I kind of decided that I was going to be a tackling dummy for the next four years. I decided to do something with my heart, and not my brawn," says Smith.
After graduating from CCM, he received a master's degree in acting at Northern Illinois University in 1999. But he never lost interest in sports.
"I do watch SportsCenter in the morning, and before I go to bed. That's kind of the bookend of my day," Smith says.
Now Smith - and millions of ESPN junkies - have another reason to watch the all-sports cable network: Playmakers.
"I've been auditioning for years, and this is by far the best script I've read. It's brilliant," Smith says. "It's something I'd watch, even if I wasn't in it."
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