Prospect Evaluation: Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith is one of two wide receiver prospects in Arizona State's 2016 signing class who primarily played quarterback for his high school. But he's a three-sport player with a lot of promise.

 In an era of specialization at the high school level, Jeremy 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, 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 is averaged 7.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 steals for the 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 as a junior. 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. ASU coach Todd Graham said on signing day he's had success with multi-sport athletes and track stars in particular, with hurdles mentioned more specifically. 

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 chop his steps and drop his weight before returning to the football, or use his arms to transition routes almost at all. That's still to be learned. 

Even so, Smith is a really good high school football player, and he's just doing it mostly on natural ability. Primarily a quarterback, when he did occasionally 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. From a skill development standpoint, he's behind and in need of learning the craft at a foundational level. 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 who projects well to college.

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