There’s no denying true freshman Juju Smith started off his college career with a bang. With four catches for 123-yards in the season opener against Fresno State, Smith announced himself to not only USC fans, but to the entire nation as one of the true freshman to be reckoned with. Smith has slowed down in a production sense a little bit since his fast start, but had a solid showing against Boston College with six catches for 49-yards on a tough day for the offense. Now when opposing defensive coordinators go to scout USC, they have to make containing Smith a priority. Smith says he’s seen it a little bit on the field following the Fresno State game.
“Probably,” Smith responded when asked if he feels opposing defenses know who he is. “I’m still trying to make progress as my freshman career goes on and I’m hoping to show more on the field.”
Smith is an exception to a preconceived belief: freshman come in and although it may look like the transition from high school has been seamless, it takes awhile to get used to the college life and speed of the college game. It’s really been the exact opposite for the former five-star.
“Right now it’s going easy,” Smith said. “My time will come. I’m still in the rotation, playing. When my time comes, I just have to take advantage of it.”
The true freshman doesn't expect it all to be easy though. Opponents will bring their ‘A’ game against USC and Smith knows that.
“All teams are going to be tough,” Smith said. “They’re playing USC, so I don’t expect it to be easy. Just going into all those games, I play with a chip on my shoulder. Going into this game, I don’t care who it is, I’m going to play to the best of my ability and do what I can to help my team out.”
The loss against Boston College came on a wet, dreary night. The turf field was tough to find footing on for both teams and multiple players slipped throughout the game. Smith was no stranger to the wet field as he lost his footing at times, causing a little bit of an injury to his ankle. He took the bye week off from practice, but returned this week and was a full participant.
“Last week I didn’t practice so coming back yesterday was a great feeling,” Smith said. “Just being on the field with my teammates… It just kind of tweaked my injury (the slip), but I’m fine now.”
The Boston College game marked the first loss in the college career of JuJu Smith. However, the true freshman kept an upbeat attitude after the game though and says it wasn’t that tough of a loss to bounce back from.
“It wasn’t that tough,” Smith said. “Like we said, we talked it over as a team. Coach Sark told us we just have to get back. Focus on our bye week and obviously Oregon State this week.”
Marshall Cherrington will be attending USC and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism beginning in January of 2015. You can follow him on Twitter @MWCherrington.