Smith is a Pleasant Surprise at Cornerback

Maybe the most humble player on the team, Travis Smith is emerging as a more dominant force among the corners. I caught up with Smith after ASU third and last preseason scrimmage at Sun Devil Stadium Friday night. Although this final scrimmage consisted of scout teams and no tackling, there were still plenty of opportunities to view the team's constant improvement, and in some cases lack of.

Smith is one of those improvements, and after redshirting his freshman year, and not seeing any playing time his sophomore season (as he was relegated to the scout team), the cornerback is finally getting some attention he deserves. He has moved up to second team nickel defense with some chance of elevating up he said. "I guess I got tired of being on the scout team for two years," Smith said with a laugh. "Coaches tell me that I'm athletic enough, but that I just have to keep working at it," he said.

He must have been doing something right during summer and spring ball, because the cornerback is moving up and making a serious impact for the somewhat depleted corner spot. "So that's what I did over the summer, kept working at it, and got my shot," he said.

The summer was a great time for Smith to improve his overall game he said. "Especially my technique. Trying to get bigger and stuff, faster," he said. Smith, who runs the 40 yard dash in 4.42 seconds, is obviously no slouch. He also recognizes his role on the team acutely and maturely.

"I think I will be a good back up. We have the two seniors Chris Baloney and J.T. (Justin Tryon)," Smith said. Although ASU's depth at corner has been criticized as lacking at times, Smith claimed, "I think we have a strong depth chart for corner right now." Smith is currently listed as a second string corner.

The slowed down scrimmage tonight was designed to give the players one last look of their assignments on the field before Saturday's home opener against San Jose State. "We were just going over the basics," Smith explained, "the techniques of the stuff. Nothing too flashy I guess,"

Friday was fan appreciation night at Sun Devil Stadium, where fans got the chance to get autographs of their favorite players and meet them in person. As any reporter knows, fan friendly usually equals media unfriendly. Naturally I wanted to get to Smith before all his fans did. To this Smith told me, "man I don't have any fans. I wish."

No later than thirty seconds after that statement a group of children no higher than Smith's knees rushed him with posters and sharpies in hand. "Can you sign my poster?" the youngster asked. Smith looked a little embarrassed about the attention, but took the young Devils fan's sharpie and registered his Hancock right on the S, in "Devils".

Travis Smith – what a difference a year makes…

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