Player Capsule: Corey Smith
Position: Defensive Tackle
Weight: 305 pounds
2016 season quick review: A reserve tackle, Smith played a limited role in five games last season and had just one tackle.
SunDevilSource.com analysis: A fifth-year senior out of New Orleans, Smith has played in just 10 career games, including a season-high five games last season.
Smith has struggled with flexibility issues in his hip due to bone spurs that he had surgically removed two years ago. It helped to some degree, but not enough to fully sink into and release from a three-point stance with the flexion required to play at the highest level from a leveraging and power-accessing standpoint. It also created a strength void in the joint which is an additional challenge.
Though he's long and reasonably athletic when standing vertically, with active hands and a good motor, Smith's functional pad level is quite limiting due to a physical challenge that is largely beyond his control. His height and length actually aggravate the issue, turning what would otherwise be an asset into a bigger hurdle.
ASU took a look at Smith as an offensive tackle because it wanted to see if this physical challenge would be less of a factor at the position. It is, but only in pass protection. The leverage challenges persist against the run, and Smith moved back to defensive line, bouncing between end and tackle in practices. It's unfortunate for Smith, a player who has worked hard in practices and done a good job from an effort and habits standpoint, that this physical issue is so limiting to his ability to perform.
Projected depth chart status: Smith has a chance to compete for action as ASU's fourth defensive tackle, behind Tashon Smallwood, George Lea and Renell Wren. He's battling for that role with junior Emanuel Dayries, junior walk-on Jordan Hoyt, and true freshmen D.J. Davison and Shannon Foreman.