Scouting Report: Braden Smith

LonghornDigest.com was on-hand to take in 2014 five-star offensive tackle Braden Smith as Olathe (Kan.) South took on Olathe North.

The first thing you notice about Braden Smith is that he's built in an interesting way. Most players who are 6-foot-6 are mostly legs. But Smith is built more like swimmer Michael Phelps — a long, long torso and short legs by comparison.*


* The 6-4 Phelps's build has been described as ideal for a swimmer, a long, powerful torso with long arms, with shorter, powerful legs for push-offs.


Because of Smith's torso, his arms could be construed as short (a lot of times we look for players "with arms to their knees"), but that's not really the case. He has a lot of strength in his upper body, with a V-cut frame that doesn't appear to have any fat on it. There's plenty of room for growth here, especially in his lower body. At this point, he's still a bit light in the pants, and Smith's parents said after the game that doctors have projected the now-265-pound's Smith as ending up at 325 pounds, and that's easy to see. Smith started the football season at more than 280 pounds, but he rarely comes off the field, playing every down on the defensive line as well as on the offensive line.

Because he's so far from his ideal football weight, you have to take that into consideration. For instance, so many linemen that you see have lower-body weight but need to gain it up top, so once they latch onto players, they leg-drive them back. Smith isn't quite to that point yet, but he has an absolutely unique skill set as an explosive athlete at the position.

He's exceptional on reach blocks with his quickness and length, and he pulls extremely well. Smith moves like a player 240 pounds lighter or less … at 280 pounds, most expect him to run a sub-5.0-second 40-yard dash, and his vertical leap has tested out at 36 inches. On one pulling play, Smith stepped back, almost did a basketball defensive slide two paces, then exploded forward into his block. It was a jaw-dropping display of athleticism because he did it so quickly and fluidly. And that's Smith's strength. He has pop to his punch, but his bend and movement is elite.

It becomes a bit harder to project Smith because he plays guard in high school though he looks like a tackle physically. And with his athleticism, it wouldn't be hard to see him make that transition.

Defensively, Smith is more raw, but he has some skills there, too. He's long and athletic, and some who have seen him compare him to former Missouri standout and current San Francisco Pro-Bowler Justin Smith. Both were tall, freak athletes for their size. It's probably too early to start tossing those kinds of comparisons around, because if Smith plays on defense, the finished product is going to look much, much different than what he looks like now.

Smith's easier to pinpoint on the offensive line, and with his size, room for growth and athleticism, expect him to get offers from just about any school he wants.


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