Player Capsule: Cameron Smith
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 195 pounds
2014 season quick review: As a true sophomore Smith finished third on the ASU offense with 41 catches for 596 yards and second with six touchdown receptions.
2015 season quick review: Smith redshirted last season after having serious knee surgery in March.
Wide Receivers Coach Jay Norvell (04/2016): “I’m very pleased with Cam. Cam is working very hard every day. He’s showing a lot of progress and he’s working hard. Today (Friday), he worked hard for the first three quarters of the scrimmage and really didn’t get a lot of action. Then all of a sudden he just explodes and that’s why we need to have playmakers at every spot because it’s like basketball. The way people defend you, different guys are going to have opportunities. So he did a really good job today, he practiced very hard, he’s making plays.”
SunDevilSource.com analysis: The best route runner and vertical threat on the ASU roster as a sophomore in 2014, Smith was poised for a true breakout year in 2015 before a lingering knee issue led to season-ending surgery and a one year rehab process. He spent the year off strength training and focused on nutrition and as a result developed one of the most impressive looking physiques on the roster.
Ultimately the question has been whether Smith would regain all of the speed and quick-twitch athleticism that made him such a big play receiving threat, and if so how quickly. In the spring he didn't look to have completely returned to full speed -- and to be sure, Smith was one of the fastest players on the roster before the injury -- but Smith had progressed significantly and was getting close to being there.
When he's at his best, Smith is a precise route runner with a high revving foot RPM and a lot of skill. He makes aggressive cuts at speed and adjusts well to balls thrown out of his framework, with a nice ability to make challenging receptions look routine. He's the best big-play, double-move receiver on the roster, and has shown a better ability to stretch and get behind the defense with separation on the perimeter than any other ASU player in the last few years. When he's aligned on the field side, defenses have to be protective at the Smith's ability to beat single high safety coverages in particular.
Importantly, Smith is also a very good blocker for a wide receiver, particularly at his size. He is aggressive and physical, using his quickness to attack blocks with balance and a good base and hand placement. He's a real weapon in wide bubble screens as a blocker and that should help ASU offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey better sell his frequent fake screens that attempt slip a receiver behind the defense.
Projected depth chart status: Unless there is some physical set back or limitation, Smith's going to start at wide receiver on the outside and be a primary target in the passing game.null