Not many people can say they have had a hand in both Indianapolis sports and Indianapolis music. The only person from Zionsville, Indiana who can make that claim is Hunter Smith, a former punter for the Indianapolis Colts who also plays in the Christian soft rock duo Connersvine. Smith played nine seasons for the Colts, nine seasons in which he’s managed to make life difficult for opposing teams, giving them the worst field position possible whenever he got the opportunity. Hunter Smith also has a Super Bowl ring; he was part of the Colts squad that took on the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. Now a free agent, the 33 year old punter probably doesn’t have a whole lot of years left in the NFL, but his kicking foot should see at least a little more action before his retirement.
|Video of Zionsville, Indiana resident Hunter Smith performing with his band, Connersvine|
Hunter Smith was born in Sherman, Texas in 1977. Smith began his sports career at Sherman High School, where he played basketball, track, and, of course, football. Smith was all over the gridiron at Sherman High School, playing the positions of punter, kicker, running back, tight end, and even quarterback (he would have his QB skills in his back pocket throughout his career, playing backup QB for Notre Dame and later throwing a touchdown for the Redskins against the Denver Broncos). By the end of his high school football career, Smith had been selected for the All-State team twice.
After his graduation from Sherman High School, Hunter Smith moved to the Hoosier state, where he enrolled at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Smith was originally recruited as a quarterback but became the team’s starting punter his freshman year. Hunter Smith played every single game of his four seasons at Notre Dame as the punter and field goal kicker. Smith still has the third most punts of any Notre Dame player (174) and the second most yards per punt (41.2). One of his punts, a memorable 79 yarder against Arizona State, was the longest punt in 63 years of Notre Dame football history. Smith’s prowess in accurately sailing the football earned him two spots on the Football News All Independent First Team (one his junior year, one his senior) and one on the Successful Farming Magazine All Independent First Team.
|Video of Zionsville, Indiana resident and Indianapolis Colts punter Hunter Smith running down Deion Sanders just before he makes it to the end zone|
After he graduated from the Indiana college in 1999, Hunter Smith was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the final round of the 1999 NFL Draft, cementing his residency in Indiana. Smith immediately became the starting punter and field goal holder for the Colts, starting all sixteen games his rookie season. Smith made the PFW/PFWA NFL All-Rookie team and the College and Pro Newsweekly NFL All-Rookie team his rookie season. 2005 saw Hunter Smith starting his seventh consecutive season as a starter, and the year was also stippled with accolades for Smith, including Special Teams Player of the Week and AFC Special Teams Player of the Month honors.
|Video of Zionsville, Indiana resident Hunter Smith throwing a 35 yard fake field goal touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos|
Hunter Smith would continue to start every game for the Colts up until 2008 (his tenth consecutive season), when he joined the roster of the Washington Redskins. Smith played in 13 games in 2009 for the Redskins, calling on his quarterbacking roots to throw a 35 yard touchdown in a November game against the Denver Broncos. Smith performed admirably for the Redskins up until a fateful game on December 14, 2010. The Redskins were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The ‘Skins had just scored a touchdown to bring the score to 16-17 with nine seconds left to play. Hunter Smith was the field goal holder, but an awry snap bounced off Smith’s hands, resulting in a missed extra point and the loss of the game. The disaster caused the Redskins to cut Smith shortly after, leaving the punter in the free agency pool.
|Video of the botched extra point attempt that would cost Zionsville, Indiana resident and Washington Redskins punter Hunter Smith his job|
Though he’s not playing for any NFL teams currently, Hunter Smith is kept plenty busy with his Indianapolis band, Connersvine, and his family. The Christian band is fairly ingrained in the Circle City‘s Christian music culture; the group even recorded a show for the Bob and Tom Show called “The Most Accurate Holder to Ever Play the Game,” a tongue in cheek ballad to legendary Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt. Though he’s had a few flubs in his long professional sports career, this famous Zionsville person has long been a reliable punter for the Colts; after all, he started every game for ten consecutive seasons. And a Super Bowl ring isn’t a bad reward for ten years of service on the gridiron.
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