Hype Level Doesn't Tell the Whole Story

One of the exciting things about every recruiting class is the discovery of new prospects. College coaches know about the prospects in their territories long before their existence is revealed to the media. Consequently, some prospects may enjoy a greater reputation among the people who matter most, the coaches, than they do among the fans. There are also other reasons for relative anonymity. Sometimes, a prospect's junior season is lost to academics, injury, disciplinary action, etc.

One such prospect is Ricardo Smith, a 6-foot-1, 190 pound athlete from Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas. Smith played in only three games during his junior season due to torn cartilage in his knee. In those three games, Smith played running back and rushed for 436 yards and three touchdowns. Arthroscopic surgery has since repaired the damage and Smith is primed for a breakout senior season.

"Ricardo is one of the best running backs I have ever seen on our level," said Paschal High School Head Coach David Guerra. "He has vision, explosive speed, and cutback ability. He also has excellent hands and one guy will not bring him down."

Currently, Smith has scholarship offers from Missouri and Wyoming. Concerns about his knee have caused some colleges to take a wait and see approach with Smith. Over the summer, he attended a couple of football camps and answered at least one question about his knee. Smith recorded a blistering 4.43 at the Texas camp and he also ran well at the Baylor camp.

Smith's speed is not surprising to his track coach who saw him perform consistently in the spring. In fact, Smith ran the 100-meters in 10.6 seconds, the 200-meters in 21.8 seconds, and the 400-meters in 49.7 seconds. So, where does his size and speed project him on the college level?

"I'm being recruited as a running back and wide receiver," said Smith. "I'm even looking at the depth at both of my positions on the teams I am considering. I would like to play running back in a ‘one-back' offense but I would play wide receiver if that was my best position."

Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, Miami, and Missouri are on Smith's early list. He explained his interest in the Crimson Tide and at least one of his reasons is unique to this observer of the recruiting process.

"I met Coach (Dennis) Franchione," Smith related. "His daughter went to our school and he would come to the games to see her cheer. He‘s a real nice guy and he had a lot of respect at TCU."

Many other coaches will come to see Smith play during his senior season---whether they have a daughter on the cheerleading squad or not.

Editor's Note: Reliable sources indicate that the Alabama staff is very high on Ricardo Smith.

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