A conversation with Gary Pinkel

Here are the thoughts on Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel on New York Jets fourth round pick, Tiger quarterback/wide receiver Brad Smith. Pinkel thinks the Jets are going to love his athleticism and work ethic.

Q)What are your thoughts on Brad Smith taking the next step to the NFL?

Pinkel: Brad is a great young man and a remarkable athlete. We're very excited for him. He will be a great player in that league. He'll be fun to watch as he matures.

Q)Can you talk about Smith's versatility . . .

Pinkel: He's a phenomenal athlete with the ball in his hands. He's the only QB in the history of college football who has thrown for 8,000 yards and ran for 4,000 yards. There is no one in college football that has ever done that. I think that says a lot. He threw the ball really well with us and ran well. A lot of people looked at him for quarterback, but others think: "here's a great athlete and we should get him in our system and see if he can play somewhere else too.'

Q)What makes Smith such a versatile player?

Pinkel: There are not too many guys who can run with a football like him. There are a lot of guys who can throw, which he can, but his versatility to be able to run with the football is second-to-none. I've been a coach for 29 years, five years here at Missouri, and he is by far the greatest athlete I've ever seen. He's a remarkable athlete. He's also a much better person than he is a football player if that tells you what a great guy the Jets are getting.

Q)How tough will his transition to the NFL be, having to play a few positions? That is a lot of work . . .

Pinkel: I think he'll be fine. His work ethic is second-to-none. As a quarterback, you have to be such a student of the game and put in all that extra time at that spot- that's Brad. He'll get in and work hard and the rest will take care of itself.

Q)What can the Jets expect out of Smith?

Pinkel: He's a very dedicated and committed player-he's a winner. The Jets have just drafted one of the great athletes in college football. He will help that team without a question.

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