Hidden Gem Emerges

Recruiting analysts should never leave any stone unturned. Which is why on May 18, during a short break in Scout’s tight summer combine schedule, I stopped by Joe Butler’s Metro-Index Camp near Pittsburgh. And I found a quarterback I believe can explode into the national top 25 at his position, Kevan Smith.

The Keystone State is stacked with talent this year, and this slinger could rank among its best prospects before all is said and done. Yet few people know about him now.

Why has Seneca Valley High (Cranberry Township) quarterback Kevan Smith avoided the radar screen? The answer is because of injury. Smith missed all but two games of his junior season. The 6-3, 215-pound signal caller broke a bone in his thumb while snow-boarding. According to his father, Walter Smith, he probably shouldn’t have played at all.

“He actually removed the cast himself so he could play those last few games,” Walter Smith said.

Kevan is intent on not injuring himself in that fashion again.

“I am definitely done with the X-games type of stuff,” laughed Smith.

Generally in football, quarterbacks begin playing the position at a young age. Smith didn’t quite follow the regular path.

“I was too big growing up, so they always played me on the offensive line,” Smith said. “In seventh grade I started playing quarterback.”

Despite his near flawless fundamentals and his strong arm, Smith has never really had a true position coach.

“When I was a sophomore I had a QB coach, but I don’t think I learned a lot from him,” Smith said. “I guess a lot of it is natural, I watch a lot of guys on TV and try to fashion my style after them.”

Who are some of the quarterbacks that the young teen watches?

Zack Mills, Michael Robinson; I guess really I try and watch everyone.”

Smith lead his team to victories in the final two games of the 2004 season, when he managed to throw for 517 yards and seven touchdowns. So with a lack of experience and limited film, Smith has not been hyped as much as some of the region’s top quarterbacks. Smith has used this spring to launch himself onto the scene as a bona-fide D-I quarterback.

“My coach told me he thought I was as good as any quarterback around. I went to a combine at Penn State and I got selected to work in a group with Devlin, Frazer and Ricker, and I think I did as good as any of them,” Smith said. “I feel my arm strength is as good as anyone’s.”

Smith has received interest from teams such as Akron, Toledo, Princeton, Buffalo, Bowling Green, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Iowa, Eastern Michigan and North Carolina. But he would like to stay relatively close to home.

“My dad would like to be able to come to my games,” Smith said.

Although they haven’t shown a lot of interest, Penn State is at the top of the pile for Smith

“I grew up as a Penn State fan, my brother-in-law is from Williamsburg (Pa.), so I have been going to one-two games for about the last five years,” Smith said. “I would like to see them show some interest, I like the people there and the atmosphere is awesome. I have some other good programs showing interest like Pittsburgh and Michigan.”

Smith has also attended his share of Pittsburgh games, as well.

“I’ve been to probably 10 games. Heinz Field is real nice, and my family lives here,” Smith said. “I love the Palko’s, Bob and Tyler.”

Smith had the chance to work with Bob and Tyler Palko at the Metro-Index camp. Both had positive things to say about the young quarterback.

“Tyler said he really liked what I was doing,” Smith said. “Bob told my dad that I looked great out there.”

Smith will have his chance to shine in front of the eyes of Scout.com and several college coaches as he is set to attend the Scout.com All-American Invitational at the University of Akron this Saturday, May 28 .

Scouting Report: I don’t get giddy over many quarterbacks, but it’s hard not to get excited about the potential of Smith. I have seen all the great QBs in this class and I would put Smith up against any of them. He possesses all the tools to be a star at the next level. I believe if he parlays those tools into a good senior season he’ll have his choice of schools.


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