UTAH UTES

Alex Smith’s College Teammates React To Project 11 Documentary

May 21, 2020, 2:22 PM

Alex Smith - Utah Utes...

Utah quarterback Alex Smith scrambles out of the pocket and looks for a receiver downfield. The Utes won the Fiesta Bowl 35 - 7 against the Pittsburgh Panthers in Phoenix, AZ on 1/1/05. (Photo by Gene Lower/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gene Lower/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – College teammates of former Utah quarterback Alex Smith watch the Project 11 documentary and were inspired and amazed when they watched it.

The documentary, which also detailed a brutal 2018 leg injury suffered by Smith during a game, aired on ESPN on Friday, May 1.

KSL Sports spoke to 2004 Utah football players including safety Morgan Scalley, running back Quinton Ganther, and wide receivers John Madsen and Paris Warren on Facebook Live for “Domination: The 2004 Utah Utes” and were asked about their thoughts to the documentary.

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‘Tougher Than A Two Dollar Steak’

Scalley used a quote from the documentary that was said by former 49ers and current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh to describe Alex Smith after watching Project 11.

“The most accurate statement on Project 11 was that Alex is tougher than a two dollar steak,” Scalley said. “That was a perfect way to describe him. I loved how they showed in that documentary about Alex being the first overall pick, dealing with all of the pressure, going through all of the different coordinators. He went through the pain of not playing in the Super Bowl. The guy has been through so much already besides the injury. He is as tough mentally as they come and is as good of a guy as you will find.”

Warren is hoping that everything falls into place for Smith.

“It was mind-blowing to see him suffer like that. Football is no joke. I am rooting for him. I just hope that everything falls into place for him,” Warren stated.

Many Would Stop Playing Football

Smith was able to have his leg saved along with life and is now trying to play in the NFL again. Ganther was in touch with Smith throughout the injury process but is amazed that Smith is trying to play football again because many players who suffer a similar injury would not play again.

“I had an idea of how bad it was because I reached out to Alex after it happened,” Ganther said. “We exchanged text messages for a while but after seeing the visual pictures of his leg, it made my stomach cringe. The one thing about this game is that you have to be mentally tough and for this guy to want to continue to play this game shows the love that he has for the game. It also shows the type of person he is mentally. If 90 or 95 percent of people who had that injury, they don’t want anything to do with football ever again.”

Madsen was friends with Smith throughout college and during their time in the NFL. The former Utah wide receiver went from being good friends with Smith to becoming a fan.

“I was really good friends with Alex at the University of Utah. We kept in touch through the first three years that I was in the NFL,” Madsen said. “He was in San Francisco and I was across the bay in Oakland. From the moment that Alex took over as the starting quarterback, I remember Urban saying on the radio that he was like Bambi on the field running around. You saw his rapid progression from 2003 to 2004. Alex got in that huddle as a young kid and he wasn’t scared. He took the hits and he gained our respect really quickly. I went to a friend and a teammate of Alex to a fan. I personally didn’t know how bad his injury was, I missed that when it happened. When I saw the pictures and the stories and him almost losing his life, I couldn’t believe it.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports. You can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Alex Smith’s College Teammates React To Project 11 Documentary