Smith Continues To See His Stock Surge

Ventura WR Riley Smith (6-0, 190) received his fourth over this past weekend and continues to see his stock rise in the eyes of four-year football coaches...

"I received an offer from Texas State," Smith told recently. "I already had offers from South Alabama, Georgia State and Eastern Michigan and I have been talking to over 20 other schools who like me a lot, but they haven't quite offered me yet because they are still evaluating me."

As a freshman this past fall, Smith finished with 29 receptions for 368 yards and four touchdowns while playing multiple receiver spots for the Pirates.

"My main position is outside, but they move me around a lot," Smith said. "I can play slot or go in motion. It really doesn't matter to me, but because of my speed (4.4), my coaches like to use me outside so I can get down the field and make plays."

Cooper enjoyed a solid prep career at Timberline (Boise, Id.) High School, but came up short on his required GPA, so he decided to go the JC route in order to continue playing football with the hopes of getting his academics in order.

"I enrolled in the summer at Snow (College) and I was going through two-a-days with them, but I suffered a high ankle sprain and was going to miss most of the year, so I decided to leave before classes started and I went back home," Smith said. "Honestly, I thought I was done playing football. I took the year off and just started working, but I wanted to give it another chance and an opportunity at Ventura came up and I saw what they had to offer and I felt like, if I was going to do this, that Ventura was the right place for me."

With a year of college football under his belt, Smith has his focus on improving all aspects of his game, but he's focusing on three to help him have a standout sophomore campaign.

"I was a running back up until my junior year of high school, so last year was only my third year playing receiver," Smith said. "One of the big things I am doing is working on my hands. I wasn't really a natural receiver from the standpoint of playing the spot for a long time, so I needed to work on my hands and how I brought the ball in and I also want to work on going up and getting the ball when it's in the air.

"The other thing is that I want to improve as a route-runner. I'm already pretty good at it, but you can always improve and get better."

Besides adapting to a new school, a new system and a relatively new position well, Smith has also gotten it done in the classroom sporting a 3.2 GPA heading into the summer.

"I made a mistake before (academically) and I wasn't about to waste this opportunity," Smith said. "I've been working really hard to get done in December, right after our season is over, so that's been a big thing for me on the academic side."

Smith will have three years to play two following the 2014 football season.

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