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April 30, 2012Last October, the TCU family lost a leader, a hard-nosed former football player and a legacy when former Frog Cody McCarty died of a heart attack at the age of 29.
But TCU wasn't the only program that felt the loss of the former all-conference tight end, who caught 39 passes for 636 yards in three seasons.
At the beginning of the 2011 season, McCarty, a former high school quarterback, took the reigns as offensive coordinator at Mansfield Timberview and helped the Wolves form one of the area's most dynamic and dangerous offenses.
McCarty was very close with his players and when he passed, they took the loss hard.
The team dedicated their season to McCarty and played with an unmatched passion, making it just a step away from the Class 5A Division II state title game.
"He taught us so much. He meant everything to us and we miss him," Timberview running back Josh Smith said. "He was like a teammate. We related to him, he related to us and everything we did this season was for him."
Smith, one of the state's top scat backs, played a pivotal role in Timberview's success, rushing for 1,650 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior in the Wolves' zone-read offense.
He proved he could run between the tackles to pick up a tough yard when needed or utilize his extra gear on the outside, especially on the read-option.
It wasn't just his offensive know-how that McCarty passed on to Smith, but his passion for TCU as well.
"He told me all about them and said he had a blast in his four years there," Smith said. "Because of him, I am very interested in TCU and I know it is a good program."
Now it appears that interest is mutual.
"I asked my running backs coach if there were any schools interested in me and he said he sent my film to TCU and they said they loved me," Smith said. "And he said they were going to come down in spring ball."
At 5-foot-6, Smith used his elusiveness and speed and got his chance to show off his talents after Timberview's starting running back went down early in the season with an injury.
"Everybody was telling me that now it was my time to shine and I knew I had to step up and help the team," he said.
And now that Timberview is without departing senior quarterback Charles Taylor, who was one of the state's top signal callers last season and accounted for nearly 4,000 yards of offense, Smith knows he has to step up his game even more.
"I feel like since Chuck is gone, there is a target on my head and it's on me when it comes to the run game," he said. "I have been training twice as hard now."
Houston, Kansas State, SMU and Michigan have also shown interest and Smith was invited to a junior day at Texas earlier this year.