Don Callahan/Inside Carolina

Recruit Eval: UNC LB Commit Jonathan Smith & RB Zamir White

Game evaluations of UNC verbal commitment Jonathan Smith and 2018 running back Zamir White.

CARY, N.C. --- Although the game was moved up a day in anticipation for last Friday’s rain, the result was the same: Scotland County used a tough defense and four Zamir White touchdowns to remain perfect on the season with a 49-13 win over Panther Creek.

Jonathan Smith, Scotland County, 2016

With Panther Creek throwing on over half of its snaps and then favoring the perimeter when it did run, the game wasn’t a great platform for an inside linebacker like Smith. As such, he registered a season low three tackles (he has averaged over 10 this season). 

Smith is at his best against the inside run (clip 2), where he shoulders blockers with a pop and then powers his way to the ball carrier. He’s a sideline-to-sideline ‘backer, but on an early first quarter outside run (clip 1) he miscalculated the speed of the ‘back and took an improper angle.

Regardless, Smith reads and reacts quickly. A couple of examples: without hesitation, he diagnosed a QB draw (clip 3), closed quickly, and then dropped the ball carrier for a loss; and then two plays later, he terminated his coverage assignment to attend to a bubble screen executed on the opposite side of the field (clip 4) for another stop.

Smith didn’t have a single missed tackle. He runs behind his pads, attacks low, and consistently wraps (clip 3 and 4).

Although Panther Creek avoided passing within a ten-yard radius of Smith, he showed fluid hips and adequate range in coverage.

What won’t show up on film are Smith’s intangibles. He exudes leadership and doesn’t speak, other than to make a call or point out an observed offensive tell.

Zamir White, Scotland County, 2018

White is an absolute workhorse. He carried the ball 26 times – in a little over a half of play – for 201 yards and four touchdowns. On Scotland’s first possession alone, he had 12 totes during a 20-play scoring drive.

Given his power and forward lean (clips 1, 3, 5, 14), Scotland usually asked White to run between the tackles to wear down a defense as he compiled the yards. As such, during short-yardage situations Jonathan Smith was subbed in at fullback while White took the direct snap and proceeded to plow into the line. Not once was White dropped for a loss and he didn’t seem fazed by a big hit (clip 21). 

Attacking the inside wasn’t because of White’s lack of outside speed. He got the ball back to the line-of-scrimmage on what seemed to be a sure loss on a toss play and then kicked it outside on a couple of gains (clip 6, 14).

Provided a lane, White would patiently follow his blocks (clips 4, 12, 22 TD, 23 TD). When he wasn’t fighting defenders for extra yards (clips 16, 18, 20), White was carrying them (2, 15). A prime example came just before halftime with Scotland facing a fourth-and-goal from the five: White followed his blockers on an off-tackle run and carried a defender into the end zone, but the play was erased on a penalty (clip 22). No matter, same down and same play call – but five extra yards to gain – gave the same result (clip 23; listen for White confidently letting the defense know the result).

Once in the open field, White relies on his hands to feel his way through close traffic and then subtle – but effective – jukes to navigate (clip 20).

Even though he’s big ‘back, White’s not a plotter. In fact his feet are very quick – like when he hopped a couple of bodies en route to his first touchdown (clip 9).

Although rarely used as a blocker, White’s physical nature extents to protecting his quarterback (clip 19).

If there’s a knock on White it’s his lack of experience as a receiver (he wasn’t passed to at all). That’s the same negative that Elijah Hood carried coming out of high school.

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