Ron Smith may be a relative unknown in the class of 2015, but that is bound to change between now and signing day. Smith was highly productive as a junior, recording 135 tackles and forcing 8 turnovers (6 forced fumbles & 2 interceptions). On film, Smith is a battering ram, displaying both a reckless abandon and sound technique. A lot of big hitters in high school don't use proper technique, but Smith is a technician on the field. What makes the rising senior even more intriguing is the fact that he played his entire 2013 season at 135-140 pounds.
"Most people don't know this, but I was only around 135 pounds last season," Smith explained. "When you watch my film, it is hard to believe that I was that small, it sure doesn't look like it. I definitely know how to tackle and always try to take the best angles. One of my biggest strengths is a I am a student of the game. I have been working on my strength and speed this offseason. I have actually gotten faster, while gaining 20+ pounds of muscle. It is a work in progress, but I know I can continue to pack on good weight and continue to improve on the football field."
After learning that Smith played his junior year at 135 pounds, I went back and watched his highlights and individual game tape and came away very impressed. Additionally, he is very young for his grade. Smith won't turn 17 until November, making him a year younger than a lot of his peers on the football field. The St.Mary's defensive back has a lot of upside, and schools have begun taking notice.
"I currently have 11 offers," Smith stated. "This spring I've picked up quite a few ranging from various D1 AA programs to a few Mountain West programs. Recently I picked up an offer from Washington State, which was a really big deal for me. The plan has always been to play in the Pac-12, so I was really happy when they offered me. At this point, I am just building relationships with schools, and am planning to have a big senior year, so more options are available for me."
Out of Smith's 11 offers, Washington State, Fresno State, and Nevada are standing out early. There are a few Pac-12 schools that are well aware of Smith, and are waiting to see how his senior year goes.
"The Washington State offer really jumps out to me," Smith explained. "The Pac-12 is a big deal for me and it always has been. I talk to Coach Reinert (GA) and Coach Russell on a regular basis. I am becoming familiar with them and their program. I know that they just built a new facility that is top notch. I am definitely interested in WAZZU."
"Fresno State is another school I am interested in. I go to the city fairly often, I have a lot of family in the area. I know plenty of people that went to Fresno State and I just feel really connected up there. I know the coaching staff well and they are definitely the top Mountain West program as far as I'm concerned. I could certainly see myself playing there, it is only two hours from home and it is a good all around program. Nevada is another MWC program recruiting me pretty hard, and I am open to the Wolf Pack. I went to their camp with my team, and ended up winning defensive MVP at the game. I know they have some good academics and have produced some good football players."
"Washington and Oregon State are the two other Pac-12 schools that I feel like are genuinely interested right now. I camped with UW and Coach Lake told me I was one of the best defensive backs there. They want to watch my first few games from my senior year before deciding if they want to offer. Oregon State is another school that is interested. They've never seen me in person, but like my film. Like UW, they want to see my early senior film, before deciding what to do."
Smith athleticism goes beyond the football field. During the spring, he shined on the track. Smith came in 10th in California for triple jump (31st nationally in the class of 2015) and was one of the best hurdlers in NorCal. Multiple colleges are looking at Smith to compete on their track & field team.
"I would certainly entertain the thought of competing in track during the offseason in college," Smith said. "It's fun to compete and it keeps me active and makes me explosive. I'm constantly improving in track and think I could be one of the best triple jumpers in the country if I work at it."
Smith has good speed and excellent explosiveness, but in his opinion, his best attributes on the football field are a few intangibles.
"It's great that I can jump high and run fast, but I think what really sets me aside on the football field is my intelligence and heart," Smith claimed. "I will sell my self out to win. I will put it all on the line for my teammates and want to win at all cost. Last year, at 135, I threw my body around like I weighed 180 pounds. I love the game of football and want to compete against the best. My draw to the Pac-12 is the fact that I can compete against elite athletes every week. I want to play with and against the best."
After talking with Smith, it was hard not to come away impressed. He is a great student with ambition to become a physical therapist after he is done playing football. With Smith's young age, it is not unrealistic for him to continue to grow and end up being 6-2+ and 195-205 pounds. It wouldn't be surprising to see a few Pac-12 schools extend offers to Ron Smith, he is one of the most intriguing safety prospects on the West Coast.