Iowa WR Jerminic Smith Should Play Now

Iowa freshman wide receiver Jerminic Smith is poised to play this season.

There's been a lot of discussion about the arrival of the three freshmen receivers for Iowa. The Hawkeyes are excited about the new trio, and all three have flashed great ability right away. Adrian Falconer, Emmanuel Ogwo, and Jerminic Smith all saw significant time during Saturday's scrimmage as we got our first look at the youngsters in meaningful action.

The best of the bunch was Texas native Jerminic Smith. He was a three-star recruit that committed to Iowa in November of 2014. The 6-foot-1, 180 pounder not only is poised to rise up the depth chart at wideout, but has also taken reps as a kick and punt returner as well.

One of his individual opponents in much of the action in Fall camp is cornerback Greg Mabin, and he had strong compliments for Smith's game.

"As far as receiver-wise, Jerminic Smith, he's a guy that runs good routes," Mabin said. "Like everyone else, he still has a couple things to work on but he definitely has a lot of potential."

Smith not only runs good routes as noted by Mabin, but he's a natural at catching the ball, and has the skill-set to do damage afterwards with his legs. He explodes up the field once he's secured the ball, and has a bit of wiggle to his arsenal as well. I would describe his game as smooth, and you wouldn't think he was a true freshman if you didn't know any better.

His biggest challenge will be reading defenses, knowing what they're trying to throw at him. Learning the playbook and taking everything in will cut down on the mistakes, just like any freshman looking to break through.

He's taking the necessary steps to contribute early and often.

"He did (take a step forward today," head coach Kirk Ferentz admitted about Jerminic's performance at practice on Saturday. "It was good to see. We haven't seen him do quite that yet, but it was good to see him make some tough catches. That still really is an open book for us. Our minds are very wide open on the receiver position."

"This is valuable work," Ferentz added. "This is going to be a big week, not just on the receiver position, but all our positions in delving in a little further on what young guys might be able to contribute and help. Then we'll try to maybe finalize our thoughts after Friday's scrimmage."

As many always say, it is easier to find meaningful playing time as a true freshman the further you are away from the ball. With that in mind, wide receiver and defensive back are spots where it's more likely.

The Hawkeyes have three proven wideouts in Tevaun Smith, Jacob Hillyer, and Matt VandeBerg, but the rest of the playing time is still in the process of being distributed.

Other than Tevaun Smith, there's not a lot of threats in the Iowa receiving core to consistently stretch the field or make the big play. Jerminic Smith has the ability to do just that. His solid route-running creates the space needed for the quarterbacks to deliver the ball, and he's shown to be dependable. With the Hawkeyes looking for more big plays down the field, he could provide that spark.

Fellow receiver Tevaun Smith believes the same.

"(Emmanuel Ogwo and Jerminic Smith) are both hungry guys," he pointed out. "We're pushing them and they're willing to work everyday. It would not be a surprise to see them get action right away."

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