A little history first….A local prospect that played his High School football at Garden City High School in Garden City, Kansas, Brodrick Smith was a blue chip high school recruit in 2008.
As the starting quarterback for the 6A Garden City Buffaloes, Smith amassed 1,446 yards and 20 touchdowns rushing on the ground alone. Smith quickly turned heads en route to all-state honors on the defensive side of the ball to go along with his offensive prowess.
College programs from across the country took notice and extended football scholarships and eventually Brodrick choose The University of Minnesota where as a freshman he played in 12 games for the Gophers, starting two games at wide receiver. Following that season, Brodrick decided to transfer from Minnesota to be closer to home and chose Kansas State. He sat out the entire 2009 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
In transferring to K-State Brodrick kept a tradition alive as his father – Lawrence Tolbert, lettered three seasons at Wide Receiver for Kansas State.
Playing the same position that his father played, Smith found immediate success playing in the Wildcat offense and began putting up monster numbers. In September of 2010, Smith dazzled during the annual Purple and White Spring game where he hauled in 12 catches for 167 yards and a stunning 4 touchdowns.
Giving immediate firepower to the Offense, Smith followed up the spring game by pacing the ‘Cat offense with 6 catches for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns against Missouri State.
Smith provides a BIG target over the middle at 6-foot-1 and 212 pounds with the speed of a wideout that allows him to outmuscle smaller defensive backs and stretch the field.
Rarely does he get jammed at the line because of his tremendous strength. Through the first 5 games of the 2010 season, Smith hauled in 14 receptions for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns. But more importantly, Smith took pressure off Head Coach Bill Snyder's running game and allowed Kansas State to set up the run off the passing game.
Smith was looking at a breakout year. However, five games into the 2010 season; Smith was injured in the 4th Q against Nebraska and was lost with season-ending surgery to his leg.
That was 2010 and if the ‘Cat offense is to be successful in 2011, Brodrick Smith has to return to form and lead the receiving corp. In looking to replace Daniel Thomas and the potent ground attack, Coach Snyder will need to manufacture a passing game that is capable of moving the chains and scoring in the redzone.
Smith is the best redzone target and has the strength to win the battle in the endzone corners with the ability to either outmuscle defensive backs or the explosive jumping ability to go up and get jump balls.
Brodrick easily passes the eyeball test and is basically a wide receiver in a tight ends' body with great hands and speed and size. In 2011, the Wildcat offense will need a game breaker at wideout and with the graduation of senior Aubrey Quarles, Brodrick Smith will be essential to the success of the Wildcat passing game.
His production on the field through five games last year gives Wildcat fans a great reason to have high expectations for him this year. Every quarterback has that go to guy they tend to go to when they need a big play or enough yards to move the chains and Smith is more than capable of being that guy.
Smith will clearly have obstacles to overcome after his season ending injury last year but IF history repeats, Wildcat Nation should be pleasantly rewarded this season. Brodrick is laden with athletic talents and alongside Chris Harper this year, could provide the ‘Cats with stellar options and production and not allow defense to zero in on shutting down one side of the field.
Coach Snyder will have his hands full trying to replace the production that warhorse Daniel Thomas provided last year but Smith could be a big part of the answer if he can stay healthy.