The Paterson, N.J. product made a name for himself with big hits in fall camp. The plan was for him to redshirt, but an injury to starting safety Anthony Perkins put Smith on the field for the final half of the season.
In six starts, the 5-foot-8, 180-pound true freshman safety registered 60 tackles. His 10 tackles per game led the team. His 60 tackles were the third-most in CU history for a true freshman (Jordan Dizon had 85 in 2007 and J.J. Billingsley had 67 in 2002). In his first start, Smith tied the school true freshman record with 15 tackles in one game. A few weeks later, he broke that record with 17 tackles against Nebraska.
With the 2011 season approaching, Smith is hoping to make an impact once again. Perkins and Ray Polk will start at safety, but Smith hopes he'll be on the field a lot, too. Scout.com recently caught up with Smith to talk about the upcoming season.
Scout: What are your thoughts coming into this year with all the changes?
Smith: I'm excited. A new coaching staff and a new DB coach. I'm ready to get out and play this year.
Scout: You had a big impact last year. Do you feel like you're starting over, however?
Smith: Yeah, I do. We've got Perkins back and I'm learning from him still. Hopefully I get out there and get some reps when he's tired. I'm just doing whatever the team needs me to do, and playing special teams. I'm just learning every day because I'm still young.
Scout: Where do you fit into the lineup?
Smith: I should be getting some playing time. Perk is still coming back from his knee (injury). Whenever he's tired I'm going to help him and take some reps at safety, or even nickel. I've been playing some nickel this year.
Scout: What have you done to improve your game since last year?
Smith: My covering skills, reading the offense better and still practicing my tackling. I'm just getting every day.
Scout: You are known for the big hits. Do your new coaches like your game?
Smith: Oh they love the way I play. Embree and coach Brown, sometimes I get in trouble for hitting people when there's thud, but I love tackling. That's what I do. That's my natural instinct. They love it, so I'm just trying to get better.