But it's not as unusual as going from a nonproductive sophomore to a junior all-American in the course of a single season.
"I didn't do nothing as a sophomore," Smith stated. "I played as a sophomore, I guess I just didn't execute as well."
As a junior Smith executed better than the Texas penal system, catching an incredible 103 passes for 1889 yards (18.3 yards per catch) and 23 touchdowns. That averages out at nearly seven catches for 130 yards and 1.6 TDs per game. In one game against perennial state pigskin power Nashville, he had 12 receptions for 300 yards and three touchdowns.
When asked how he accounted for the extraordinary one-year turnaround Smith summed it up in four words: "Hard work and dedication."
"I went to passing tournaments and I'd catch the ball every time I got a chance to," he continued. "I played in a lot of seven-on-seven tournaments, too."
Smith got the opportunity to showcase his pass-catching skills after Warren had a change of head coaches and offenses.
"We started throwing the ball two years ago when Bo Henry became our coach," Smith said. "He put in a wide open offense where we threw the ball most of the time."
Smith said the Lumberjacks will continue to throw the ball this season, although he won't be on the receiving end of passes very often.
"I'm going to have to play quarterback so I'm not going to get a chance to catch many passes," Smith said. "It's all right though; whatever is best for the team."
Being the ringmaster in an aerial circus for the defending state champions isn't actually punishment, as Smith will have a chance to demonstrate his throwing and running ability. The dual threat will also line up at wide receiver a few times each game just to keep his skills sharp and the defense loose.
"We're going to throw the ball every down," he said. "We're always in the shotgun. We throw a lot of quick passes. It will be interesting to be throwing the ball. I hope I get a chance to catch the ball three or four times a game."
In addition to being an outstanding football talent with an unselfish attitude, Smith is also a solid student with a 3.0 grade point average and an 18 on his ACT. Those admirable qualities are further underscored by the fact he's going to take his ACT again in an effort to get a higher score, and he's dropped the pro player who once was his favorite wide receiver.
""Randy Moss was my favorite receiver but he's got this attitude about playing when he wants to," Smith said. "I really haven't got a favorite receiver... I've got to find one."
Smith, 6-2, 180, is certainly a crowd favorite in the small south Arkansas city of Warren where he thrilled cheering throngs last season with his 4.50 speed and exceptional leaping ability. That later trait also comes in handy on the hardwood. Smith, who plays AAU basketball, is a major college prospect in that sport as well, although he's also his own worst critic.
"I didn't have a great year," he said of his AAU summer season. "I had an all right year. I play anything from a one to a four (point guard to power forward). People tell me I have a good vertical leap, but I really don't know. I haven't had it measured or anything. I like to rebound. It's something like catching passes because you're going up and grabbing it."
Playing AAU basketball prevented Smith from attending summer football camps or combines, but it did nothing to dowse the interest of big-time football programs.
A video football game addict, Smith has lost track of the scholarship offers he's received, but he knows the schools that interest him the most.
"Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Michigan and UCLA are the schools I'm looking at," he said. "I don't have a favorite. I'm open. I'm going to take all of my visits before I decide on a school.
"Tennessee has a good tradition so that's why I'm interested in them. If I go there, I'm going to have to work hard to earn playing time."
If Smith chooses the Vols he will help to continue UT's tradition of producing great pass catchers and restore the Vols reputation of Wide Receiver U.