Trevyn Smith can carry a defender on his back for a few extra yards.

He can pick out a hole where there is none and get a first down.

He can outrun a linebacker and break off a long touchdown run.

There isn't much Smith, who led the Big Sky Conference in rushing in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, hasn't been able to do since he's been at Weber State.

But it turns out there is something not even Trevyn Smith can do.

He can't stop his daughter Ryan Rae from having optic nerve hypoplasia. So far, he has been completely powerless to help her see. She is blind in one eye and has very little vision in the other eye.

But just because Smith's family has been tackled for a loss, don't think for a minute that the game is over.

"People think that I've had dreams about playing football. Football has been the dream of my life. It's meant the world to me, but that's nothing compared to the desire I have for my kid," Smith said. "Now my priority is to see my kids succeed. That is No. 1 on my list."

Smith, 21, led the state in rushing with 2,108 yards in 2004 as a senior at Springville High School, but despite his eye-popping numbers, most college teams passed on him due to his 5-foot-10 frame, so he took an offer from Weber State and was determined to show other schools what they missed out on.

After two years, he's done just that. He was listed third on the depth chart at running back when the 2006 season began. He didn't play in the season opener against Colorado State, but by the sixth game of the season was a full-time starter and ended up the team's top rusher with 1,129 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.

Last year, Smith racked up 1,314 yards with an average of 119 yards per game and scored seven touchdowns for Weber State.

His football career has gone as well as could be expected, but now his focus is on his family. He's approaching the health problems of his daughter like the challenge of turning in a 1,000-yard season.

The challenge is a daunting task because Smith said Ryan Rae was premature and was born without her fiber optic nerves fully developed. The results have been heartbreaking at times. The moments that an eight-month-old can provide -- crawling after a doll, smiling when she sees her mother -- all those Kodak moments are still waiting to be developed.

"Half of what you make your dreams out of are things that you can see," Smith said. "Right now, she can't see. She can walk better than she can crawl because there is someone there helping her to walk and she doesn't see anything that she wants to crawl after."

Smith said there is hope. Cutting-edge research is being done with stem cells and that offers his daughter the best chance for her to see, but it is in China. Smith would like to see Ryan Rae undergo six stem cell treatments, which would leave her in China for about a month. Unfortunately, hope comes with a hefty price tag. The family estimates the medical costs will run around $60,000, not something a college student can afford, so fundraising efforts are underway.

Smith's wife Erica, who is five months pregnant, is hoping to make the trip in August before she gets too far along.

"I talked to the grandma of a boy who went over and had this done. He was 10 months old and was completely blind. When he came back, he could see 10 to 12 feet in front of him," Erica said. "The grandma told me she thought it was a waste of money. But now she said she'd do it a million times over again. She thought it was a miracle."

Regardless of what happens with Ryan's treatment, the Smith family knows they can't sit back and do nothing. The instinct of any parent is to fight for their children. They are committed to spending all of their time and resources in making it happen.

"If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work out," Erica said. "I can't say 20 years from now when my daughter is blind that I didn't do anything about it."

A fund has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank for Ryan Rae for those interested in donating to the cause. Since Trevyn is a high-profile college athlete, there will be a watchful eye on the funds from the NCAA, which is why they can't have anything to do with the fund.

There are also a series of fundraisers being planned. A night club in Park City is in the works of finding a band and doing a benefit concert and the Weber State Football program is hosting a benefit golf tournament at the Barn Golf Course in Ogden on July 23.

The hope is that after it's all over, the Smiths will be able to do one simply task that parents instinctively do -- care for their child -- to provide the best life they can for her.

In addition to preparing for his junior season at Weber State, Smith now has a new focus. One that doesn't involve cleats and pads.

He has a drive to succeed for his family that far exceeds the drive he's brought to the football field.

And now it's never been more urgent.

"We can get her over there. I know I've got to make it happen," he said. "That's what we're going to do."

Fundraiser golf tournament that will be hosted by Weber State football program

When: Wednesday, July 23

Where: The Barn Golf Course

305 W Pleasant View Drive, Ogden, UT

Time: 8:00 a.m., Shotgun start

Cost: $125 per person, foursome $500

4-Man Scramble

More information at

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