Smith Holds Terps' Future in his Hands

Torrey Smith's NFL career could make or break Terps offense in ‘11

Perhaps the clinic Torrey Smith held Saturday against the N.C. State secondary was a glimpse of what is to come from the Maryland offense in 2011. Or maybe it was simply a parting gift from Smith to the Maryland faithful as he embarks for a future in the National Football League.

A staggering 14 catches for 224 yards and four touchdowns in the final regular season game of 2010 was enough to rewrite the school’s record brooks. Then again, that is something Smith has made a habit of during his time with the Terps. This season alone, Smith has become the all-time leader in all-purpose yardage for the Terps, and has made the ACC kickoff return yardage record his own.

Smith’s four scores helped Maryland upset the No. 23 team in the country by generating 38 points of offense. While the team has topped the 60-point mark twice earlier this season, this effort came against a team vying for an ACC championship.

“We have scored more points in other games, but the passing game [against N.C. State] was the most we have clicked for four quarters all season against a real quality opponent. It was a real coming out party for us,” quarterback Danny O’Brien said.

The chemistry showcased between Smith and first-year starter O’Brien has everyone asking for more. Smith has been a playmaker ever since he stepped foot on the Byrd Stadium turf, and O’Brien is turning heads with his poise and how quickly he is taking to the offense.

That is why no one else is pulling for Smith to return for his senior season more than this quarterback.

“I’m going to be the guy trying to pull him back here; I think we can do something special next year,” O’Brien said. Although that is the ideal situation for him, he admits that that Smith is still gathering advice. “He is going to get the right advice from the right people and he will make the right decision.”

Smith has already approached his head coach Ralph Friedgen regarding his future. Friedgen suggested that Smith has yet to make up his mind, calling the decision difficult just as it is for all college-athletes.

The most important factor, according to Friedgen, is where draft experts project him to be taken. If he is expected to be drafted in the first round, it makes economic sense for him and his family to enter the draft. In order to do that, however, Smith would have to be considered one of the top 32 players in the country.

Of the 2012 draft prospects, Smith ranks eighth among wide receivers, according to CBS Sports. The caliber of players above him include A.J. Green of Georgia, Julio Jones of Alabama, Michael Floyd of Notre Dame and Ryan Broyles of Oklahoma. ESPN Scouts Inc. predicts Green, Jones Floyd and Broyles could enter the draft as underclassmen this year.

Whether Smith opts to join fellow former Terps wide-outs Darrius Heyward-Bey and Isaiah Williams in the NFL, or decides to return for one more shot at the ACC championship with the Terps, he will have plenty of backing from his head coach.

“Whatever he does, I will support him. I will support him for the rest of his life,” Friedgen said.”

The deadline for juniors to declare for the NFL Draft is Jan. 15, 2011. The draft will take place April 28.

Twitter: @samspiegs

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