Eugene Smith III might very well have come of age in the National Football League (NFL) this past Monday night.
The grandson of a Bahamian father and directly from that strong Bimini sports line, Geno Smith, with matured play, crafty, at times, was the prime architect as the New York Jets registered a big win on the road, 30-28, over the Atlanta Falcons.
The victory upped the Jets to a 3-2 win/loss record for the season, but no doubt the signs that Smith is now getting a firm grip on the NFL and emerging as a potential star, are most important to Head Coach Rex Ryan and the rest of the Jets nation.
In New York, fans are increasingly hopeful that the Jets will be highly competitive this season and that Smith will grow into the solid, consistent quarterback they longed for.
Here at home and in Florida, those in the large family circle are "very proud of Geno" in the words of his grand aunt Carol Smith-Gomez.
"I thought he played very well. I am so happy and proud. I believe now, they (Jets hierarchy) will decide that the quarterback job belongs to only Geno.
"I spoke to his daddy (Eugene Smith Jr.) and he is very excited. The entire family feels good now and we only hope that the success continues," said Smith-Gomez.
Smith and the Jets will visit the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 29.
Smith-Gomez informed that many family members will converge on Sun Life Stadium for the game.
" Particularly, if Smith is still improving his play, kinfolk will be " sky high."
The game against Atlanta proved that Smith has the potential to become a fixture at the quarterback position in the NFL.
He bounced back from a 38-13 pasting by the Tennessee Titans, four turnovers inclusive of two interceptions, to look like a steady veteran.
Smith entered the game with four touchdowns and eight interceptions.
The statistics after the Atlanta game demonstrate an encouraging progression.
He now has seven touchdowns and eight interceptions after no interceptions in Atlanta.
His quarterback rating is at 80.3. Heâ s completing passes at a 60.3 percent clip and has thrown for 1,289 yards.
Smith is averaging 258 passing yards per game.
He missed just four of 20 passes on Monday night and three of his tosses went for touchdowns as he accumulated 199 yards through the air.
There is more to Smith. He is not a running quarterback but quite capable of making nifty sprints.
In fact, he is the second leading rusher on the team with 106 yards from 19 carries, and averages 21.2 yards running per game.
The quarterback has a nice touch to his passes.
He threw two touchdowns in the second quarter and one in the fourth on Monday night.
The first to Jeff Cumberland for 20 yards was over the shoulder, just where it needed to be. The 16-yarder touchdown to Jeremy Kerley was mostly because of the receiverâ s extra effort.
However his third passing score, in the fourth quarter to veteran Kellen Winslow Jr., was picture perfect.
Winslow is tall and he understands how to perform in the corner of the end zone.
However, Smith had to loft the ball just right, over the heads of defenders.
He did that and Winslow Jr. gripped the ball while making sure his feet were comfortably inbounds.
It looks like the youngster who will be 23 tomorrow, is on his way.
If his offensive line (that includes another player of Bahamian heritage, Dâ Brickashaw Ferguson) gives him steady protection, early next year as the NFL season winds down we could be talking about the Rookie of the Year.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com)