Size and Intangibles:
At 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, Smith has great size for a safety and in particular a free safety. The only knock right now on Smith’s size is his need to add about 10-15 pounds to get to the 195-200 pound area which is an ideal size for a safety. For comparison, incoming safety Charlie Thomas is currently at 6-foot-2, and 190-pounds. Speed wise, Smith has pretty good speed and should probably be around the 4.55-4.65 range when it comes to the forty-yard dash. When it comes to football IQ, Smith appears to have pretty high football IQ which helps makes up for a lack of physical traits.
When it comes to Smith playing run defense, he appears to be a solid run stopper. His game tape shows him as a player who gets to the line of scrimmage quickly and finds the ball. While he doesn’t have elite speed, he’s quick enough to get to the ball carrier in most cases and make a solid attempt at bringing him down. . The biggest concern in his run defense going forward will be his ability to take the right routes to get to the faster and more agile ball carriers.
Using just his HUDL highlight tapes, the one that that stands out about Smith right away is his ability to read the “quarterbacks eyes.” Smith’s highlights often show him having a strong ability to read the QBs eyes and start moving towards the ball before it’s released. The extra half second to a second that he is able to get off the jump allows him to make up for his lack of elite speed. Even when he isn’t able to get to the ball before it makes it to the receiver, he is often right there and has a strong chance to bring down the receiver or break up the pass at the last second. One concern there could be going forward is how Smith can make up for a missed assignment by one of his cornerbacks. Does he have the man-to-man skills to cover a deep threat down the field or will he get burned?
Overall, Smith is someone who can develop into a starting safety for the Yellow Jackets down the road. With just a little less than a year and a half till he even ends up on The Flats, Smith has plenty of time to get even better before he ends up on campus. That being said, Smith is a safety who is solid in both of the run defense and pass defense but there are some holes in his game. While it’s hard to say he projects to be a starting safety in the future, he definitely projects to be a contributor on defense and could make an early impact on special teams via kickoff and punt coverages.