Prospect: Jaylon Smith
High School: Fort Wayne (IN) Bishop Luers
Game Against: Columbus (OH) Bishop Hartley
Positions Played In Game: Running Back, Defensive End, Outside Linebacker
Projected College Position: Outside Linebacker
HT/WT: 6-3 | 225 lbs.
Position One: Running Back
Smith Running The Ball
With his height and speed Smith makes for an interesting back to defend. However, he was never able to really show his speed or athletic ability as Hartley keyed on him from the outset. While Smith projects more as a wide receiver on the offensive side of the ball, his athletic ability alone makes him a weapon.
Position Two: Defensive End
Smith lined up the majority of the game here against another Irish pledge Jacob Matuska. From the start of the game Matuska was shadowed by Smith and Bishop Hartley coaches looked to always go away from Smith forcing him to use up energy on every play and go across field to even have a chance to make a play.
Jaylon Smith & Jacob Matuska afer the game
There is no mistaking Smith’s first step quickness, balance and total body control. Matuska, who stands 6-foot-5, 265-pounds, was a good test for the lighter Smith as he showed the ability to shed blocks quickly and pursue plays laterally.
The area that really sets Smith apart is his hand quickness and strength. While Smith looks more like a finesse player he can also bring an extremely strong punch that can stun a tight end or offensive lineman.
Position Three: Linebacker
Smith lined up inside and outside a few times during the game showing great instincts flowing to the action and making adjustments pre and post snap. We would have liked to see more of Smith in the middle of the defense as opposing coaches did a great job of taking the majority of plays away from where he lined up.
Almost from the start of the game we could hear Bishop Harley coaches calling out Smith’s number to let their players know he was in the game and where he was lined up.
Smith brings great hip turn and foot quickness allowing him to get depth and width at the same time. At this time Smith is not afraid of stepping up and filling a hole. However, he’s not going against 300-pound offensive linemen when he currently does this. With added strength Smith will become an even better tackler but his ability to ward off blocks and step over trash allows him to use his great burst and speed to get to the sideline in pursuit.
What Should Irish Fans Expect
Smith’s great athletic ability will be hard to keep off the field as he should get reps in some capacity. His future is very bright as he should be expected to be a major pass rushing threat in the Irish 3-4 scheme. While Smith shows the ability to drop and cover, his main goal in high school is for him to get up field. Smith has work to do in the Irish strength program going forward and will need to fine tune his techniques to play at the college level. However, he has all the tools to be a top performer at the college level if healthy.