Brandon Smith Living Up to Expectations

In 2005, a deep wide receiver group prevented redshirt freshman Brandon Smith from playing in his first year. Nevertheless, he's happy he did sit out. He turned many heads last season, and thus far in spring practice he has nothing but continued that trend.

The 6-1 192 Brandon Smith was part of a fierce recruiting battle between Arizona State and Washington. Being that he runs a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash, a 10.6 in the 100m, and sports a 36-inch vertical jump, it wasn't hard to understand why those two schools coveted him as much as they did. As a senior year at West High School in Bakersfield, Calif. he collected 41 receptions for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns. The first-team all-area player, also proved to be a dangerous return man, as he had had two kickoff returns and one punt return for touchdowns.

"When I came out of high school," Smith recalled, "I thought ‘yeah I'm ready to play.' But when I got here, I saw that it was a totally different game and I should redshirt, so I can get better, faster and stronger. I'm happy the coaches did redshirt me. That was the best decision for me and I respect them for doing that. I learned a lot from that redshirt year. I wasn't ready then, but I am now."

With his long strides, speed and sure hands, the wide receiver is proving that he's indeed up to the task of being an integral part of his position group, and those observing him the closest seem to concur. "The coaches believe in me," said Smith. "I see that everyday in their eyes. They get on me to do things better, and I respect that because that means they see something in me. I think I can be a better player." Aside from physical improvements, Smith cites skills such as "coming out of my breaks better, being more confident and aggressive…" as skills that he has already improved on, and once again credits his year off the field for those achievements – "the redshirt year did all that for me."

Smith enjoyed the first practice in pads, and said that while it presented the difficulties one would expect, he believed that he and the team have "fought it out" in order to succeed. That determining attitude will serve him well as he tries to move up the depth chart. Some may think that any competition at wide receiver, is regulated to the right to start opposite senior Terry Richardson. Smith on the other hand begs to differ. "Actually, I don't see it that way," he commented. "I know Terry is a real good player, but all of us wide receivers will fight it out. Nobody is gonna back down from anybody else. We're all gonna fight and let the best man win."

"I'm gonna try my best to start," continued Smith. "It's up to coaches and I know that they'll make the best decision for me and the team." The way matters are currently progressing, making a decision regarding Brandon Smith's status may just be one of the easier ones the Sun Devil coaches will have to make.

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