When you think about football in Las Vegas, most people's minds will go to Bishop Gorman. The Gaels were jockeying for a National Championship for much of 2014 and had a slew of highly touted prospects on their roster. That should be the case against this fall, but don't sleep on Desert Pines. Led by their three-star defensive end, Anthony Smith, the Jaguars could be a Vegas powerhouse, in their own right this year.
"We are used to getting slept on," Smith claimed. "The plan is to outwork the competition, keep things on the low, and get ready to shock some people. Last year we only lost two games, the goal this year is to run the tables."
Smith is on the verge of shattering the Desert Pines sack record. After 16 sacks as a junior, the rush-end is at 30 total sacks, needing only a few more to be the top guy. On tape, Smith shows a lot of things that will translate nicely to the college level. At 6-3 245 pounds, he has a good frame, that could easily hold 15-20 more pounds of mass. He is quick for his size and has great closing speed. Smith is a bit raw from a technical standpoint, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. With good coaching, he should continue to get better over the next few years.
"I'm trying to get better in all aspects of the game," Smith explained. "A few schools have mentioned the idea of playing outside linebacker, so I am just working on my drops, agility, and speed. I think d end is my best position, but I'll play whatever the coach tells me to. I love getting after the quarterback, but I think I'm a pretty well rounded at end. The goal is to always get better though."
Colleges are taking note. The three-star edge rusher recently picked up his fifth offer from Colorado State. In addition to the Rams, Smith holds offers from San Diego State, UNLV, Nevada, and Northern Arizona. A few schools are standing out to him early in the process.
"Out of the schools that have offered me, I'm liking UNLV and Colorado State," Smith shared. "I think UNLV is doing some really good things with that new staff and staying home could be cool. I also really like that new CSU staff. They are mostly from the SEC and know how to develop guys and win football games."
"The two schools I am really hoping to get offers from are Arizona and Boise State. I'll be camping with the Wildcats. That's probably my top school. My family is down there and I really love the school. It's a great campus and they are winning a lot of games recently. Hopefully I leave their camp with an offer. As for Boise, that's another one of my top schools. I am hearing from Coach Avalos some and really like him. The program is top notch and I see myself fitting in great there. I've never been, but you can just tell it's a great community that really cares about the football program. I can imagine that there is nothing else going on up there on Saturday, but Boise State football. That's what I want."
Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, UCLA, and a few others are also showing varying degrees of interest in Smith.
"I'm hoping to camp with Oregon, UCLA, and maybe Oregon State this summer," Smith said. "I get mail from those schools and Coach Tuiaki showed me some love when he was at Utah, but now he is up at Oregon State. I don't know how interested they are, but I'll compete at their camps and hopefully turn some heads. A lot of times, coming out of Vegas, you are undervalued. I'm fine with that, it's just motivation for me."
Scout was able to watch Smith train at Phase 1 Sports, in Las Vegas over the weekend. Smith moved very well, displayed quick feet, explosiveness, and above average athleticism. He should continue to trend up in 2015.
After the summer camp circuit, Smith should be closing in on double digit offers, and perhaps more. He is a talented pass rusher, which is at a premium in college football these days. He is certainly one to keep an eye on in the class of 2016.