Defensive Rush End/Outside Linebacker
University of Arkansas Razorbacks
Mount Ulla, North Carolina
West Rowan High School
For the last two seasons, Smith established himself as one of the Southeastern Conference's elite pass rushers, ranking fourth in sacks on the league charts for both the 2012 and 2013 campaigns. His performance as a pass rusher also saw him rank 30th in the nation as a senior with 8.5 sacks, the eight-best total in school history.
In the previous season, Smith's first as a full-time starter, he finished fifth in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks with 9.5 sacks, taking over the seventh spot on the Razorbacks' annual record chart. His 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage as a junior ranked fifth in the SEC. In both of his final two campaigns, Smith would lead the team in both sacks and stops-for-loss.
Wreaking havoc in an opponent's backfield is something that Smith has always done since the first day he suited up and played organized football. At West Rowan High School, he was considered one of the best defensive recruits in the state of North Carolina, helping his team capture back-to-back state titles and compile a 30-game winning streak. Over his last two seasons, Smith amassed more than 200 tackles and 48 sacks.
As a junior in 2008, Smith tallied 117 tackles, 25 sacks, two forced fumbles, two pass breakups, and 44 QB pressures. In addition to repeating as all-conference and all-county selections, he was named to the Associated Press All-State Team. With Smith's help on defense, West Rowan went 15-1 and defeated West Craven in the NCHSAA Class 3A State Championship.
As a senior, Smith earned Associated Press all-state honors for the second straight year. Heading into the playoffs that season, he had collected 98 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 36 QB pressures, 11 pass breakups, four tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and one recovered fumble. In 2009, he helped his team to a 16-0 record and a Class 3A state championship earning MVP honors in the title game.
Smith followed that up by being named the defensive MVP for the North Carolina team in the North Carolina-South Carolina all-star game and was invited to participate in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C. In the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl he had seven tackles and one sack.
Smith was also recruited by Arizona, Clemson, East Carolina, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Penn State, Wisconsin and South Carolina, but signed his national letter-of-intent to attend the University of Arkansa on June 6th, 2009. He had just returned from a Scout.com Combine, where he was clocjked at 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash, clocking 4.71 in the short shuttle, 7.29 in the three-cone drill and delivered a 9'-7" broad jump.
When Smith arrived for Arkansas' 2010 fall camp, he checked in at 219 pounds. The coaches originally planned to redshirt him, but he grew in stature, both in the training room (increased weight to 230), but on the practice field. He was eventually activated and played in six games as a reserve weak-side defensive end, posting three tackles as a true freshman.
When Smith arrived for 2011 August camp his now chiseled frame measured at 251 pounds. He was shifted to strong-side end, starting three of the 13 contests he appeared in. He collected 31 tackles as a sophomore, including 3.5 sacks and six stops-for-loss. The best was yet to come, as Smith would become a permanent fixture in the starting lineup for his final two seasons.
Smith received All-Southeastern Conference honorable mention in 2012, as he started all year back on the weak-side. He delivered a career-high 52 tackles (28 solos), leading the team while finishing fourth in the league with 9.5 sacks, the 25th-best figure in the nation. He tied for fifth in the SEC with a team-best 13 stops-for-loss and also topped the Razorbacks with 12 quarterback pressures.
Elected team captain, Smith was a second-team All-SEC pick by the league's coaches as a senior. He again finished fourth in the conference and led the squad with 8.5 sacks and topped the Razorbacks with 11.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He posted 36 tackles along with six pressures, earning SEC Player of the Week honors for his three-sack showing vs. Southern Mississippi.
Smith started 27-of-43 games at Arkansas — 15 at strong-side defensive end and 12 on the weak-side…Registered 122 tackles (64 solos), 21.5 sacks for minus 157 yards, 30.5 stops for losses of 172 yards and 20 quarterback pressures…Recovered and caused a fumble…Also deflected seven passes.