Smith sticking with 28

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

Now that he's no longer a freshman, Brandon Smith felt comfortable enough to deny a request made by a more veteran defensive back this off-season.

J.R. Ruffin asked Smith if he could have back the No. 28 Ruffin wore during his first two seasons with the Calgary Stampeders.

But Smith said no, mostly because his entire family has the jersey from last season and they don't want to buy new ones.

A year ago, the 24-year-old Smith likely would have switched, but he's no longer the picked-on rookie.

The Stamps showed a lot of faith in their returning defensive backs by not bringing in more than one newcomer at each position, and Smith has rewarded them by displaying some veteran leadership.

"They put me in the big locker-room coming into this camp," said the Sacramento State product. "I'm getting along with guys well. Last year was shaky because I was a rookie.

"It feels good right now. I'm helping out the younger guys. They ask me about the plays and I know the answers. I'm able to talk with everyone well. I feel like an old man a bit."

In 17 starts last season, Smith recorded 56 defensive tackles, good enough for fifth on the team, but he didn't get an interception.

But when he does get pick No. 1, it was important he was wearing No. 28.

"The number I wanted that I've been wearing my whole life is 12," Smith said about the digit on Sandro DeAngelis' back.

"That ain't happening here.

"So I'm keeping this one. I had a pretty successful year in 28, so I'm sticking with it."


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