"Maxwell should be pretty solid and can be a big leader of our bunch next year. I actually think he would love to have that situation and opportunity," Smith, a former UK linebacker, said. "He has a lot of experience. He has started some games in his career. I think he is ready mentally and physically to step up and be a major player for us. I think he is looking forward to it."
Smith says on the field, he knows Maxwell can be outstanding if he gets the chance to play full-time.
"He is a playmaker. He just seems to always be around the ball. He can be explosive at times and make that big hit and big play," Smith said.
Maxwell has started four games in his career and has 57 tackles. He's convinced himself he can be a legitimate playmaker on a full-time basis in the SEC much like Woodyard, Kelley and Johnson have been.
"I do feel pretty confident about myself. From looking at an old film of my freshman year to now and the things I am doing different, I can see the progression. I always tease the coaches and tell them that I make plays, not tackles. We tease them a lot. I feel like I do make a lot of plays thanks to good coaching and the more you play, the more big plays you can make," Maxwell said.
He'll embrace a potential leadership role in the same fashion because he thinks he has earned the confidence of teammates and coaches already.
"I really have been waiting for my shot to get a lot of playing time out here. The coaches see I have the ability to be a leader. They just want me to do it more consistently and I have to play better to lead the linebackers. Even with Micah back I will also still have to be more of a leader than I have been," Maxwell said.
"Everybody has to go through the situation of being the younger guy going to being the older guy. Basically, the young guys would just be playing the position I did as a freshman, but they would get more of an opportunity to play. It's not as bad as it may look. We have guys who can play."
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