Ideal scholarship roster number: 10-11
Likely returning number: 7-8
2016 Commitments: 1 (Jeremy Smith)
Remaining ideal number: 1-2
The Skinny: In an era of specialization at the high school level, Smith is a three-sport star at Fort Bend (Texas) Marshall High School who has played basketball and track since his freshman year. It's something that is increasingly less frequent as football, basketball and baseball have become year-round sports.
As a result of that, and the fact Smith primarily played quarterback instead of wide receiver for his varsity team as a junior -- and will again as a senior -- he is very unpolished from a skill standpoint at the position he'll play in college. But you can really get a sense of the type of athlete Smith is, and how much potential exists and is still untapped, by some of what he's accomplished in other sports.
Smith averaged 5.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals as a junior for a 20-13 5A basketball team, but his performance on the track is what really is eye-opening. Marshall was a very successful member of the 5A state champion track and field squad. He finished third in the 300m hurdles in the state meet and has a personal best of 37.40 seconds. He's also very good in the 110m hurdles, with a time of 14.68 seconds, and was a member of the state title 1,600 meter relay team.
For being 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, Smith is remarkably limber and graceful in his athletic movements. He has great flexibility and timing running hurdles. On the football field he has impressive acceleration and elusiveness. Despite the fact he's got very little technical competency as a route runner, he still is able to re-direct reasonably well, especially for his size. This is a very good sign for his future because Smith doesn't chops his steps and drop his weight before returning to the football, or use his arms to transition routes almost at all.
Even so, Smith is a really good high school football player, and he's just doing it mostly on natural ability. For a 7-4 teams he had 13 passing touchdowns and 791 throwing yards, and still managed 18 catches and 303 yards with three touchdowns as a receiver, often switching roles in red zone situations that called for passes.
When he did line up at receiver Smith showed a great natural ability to attack the football. He looks very comfortable in terms of his physical composure and poise at the ball's arrival, even when forced to leap or dive for the ball. This mean's he doesn't seem to have problems with eye jog, usually caused by choppy feet and a style of running and movement that receivers often struggle to significantly minimize enough to become more consistent pass catchers.
Receiver is an enormously skilled position and the big question is how long it's going to take Smith to develop the tools necessary to be successful at the college level. He's going to again play quarterback as a senior, so he won't be working on skill development. But that also means he has a better understanding of the mental part of the game and how offenses and defenses work. A lot of the success is just something certain players have that is innate and Smith is a natural athlete that projects well to college.
Moving forward, if ASU keeps all of its players who are expected to play receiver in 2015 at the position in subsequent seasons, the Sun Devils are one or additional players at the position away from their target number. They are relatively inexperienced going into this season, but that shouldn't be the case in 2016 and if several of the young players can develop, they may not need to sign a junior college receiver, though that certainly wouldn't be a bad idea. They'll almost for sure take at least one more high school receivers, and potentially two.
Here's Smith running the 300m hurdles in the Texas State 5A meet, finishing third (yellow top):