ENGLAND Students head coach Lee Addison and his assistant Steve Woodburn have heaped praise on former teammate Paul Smith for the way he played on his Giants' Super League debut against Widnes.
Hull-born Smith lined up in the same England Students forward pack as Addison and Woodburn in the 1998 Home Nations series - the tournament that saw Wigan winger Brian Carney rise to prominence with Ireland Students.
And Addison, who has earned three England Student caps and two Great Britain Student caps, believes former Rochdale skipper Smith could go on and make just as big an impact in Super League.
"Smithy always had star quality, and playing alongside players like Paul made me realise that it might be a better option to take up coaching!," he admitted.
"Paul was at the University of Salford with me, and we all used to say that it was a miracle that he wasn't a professional, and that was six years ago.
"He's at the top now and I have no doubt that the attitude he has will carry him through to bigger and better things.
"I would like Smithy to know that me and Woody will be watching his every move and we'll be in his corner egging him on as he embarks on a full-time professional career."
Addison also chose to send a good luck message to another England Students graduate to the professional ranks, Richie Barnett Jnr of Hull, who was also a former Giants Academy player.
"Richie Barnett was one of the first players I came into contact with when I took on the England job in 2002," added Addison.
"I was asked whether he would make it into Super League by a high profile coach who was looking to sign him. I had no hesitation in saying `Yes'.
"He's a top guy and top player and it is only a matter of time until he makes his mark in my opinion.
"These are just two examples of just how much talent there is in the student game. BBC commentator Ray French has been banging the student drum for years with little response.
"And it's taken one or two to break through, like Paul Smith and Richie Barnett, for people to realise that Ray was right all along. The student game is a hotbed of talent."
Huddersfield youngsters will be taking centre stage in the next match on the England Students calendar.
Five highly talented members of the Greenhead College team, who also train with the Giants Academy, are set to play against the touring French Students on Wednesday, March 24, although a venue has still to be announced.
They are Chris Clarke, Simon George, Daniel Garside, Danny Hird and Gary North.