Wednesday, January 28, 2009

the recruit: Tim Smith

Since we're on the topic of wide receivers, here's a little bit of offseason fluff on Jared Green. Something to cheer the heart and warm the blood on a day when the skies can't make up their mind which kind of precipitation it's going to be.

Name: Tim Smith
Position: WR
Hometown: Chesapeake
School: Oscar Smith
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 182

ESPN: 77, #55 WR
Rivals: 5.8, four stars, #38 WR, #10 player in VA
Scout: three stars, #97 WR

I don't have to tell you a lot of this stuff, cause you're already pretty excited about this guy, but I will anyway. Smith is the most dynamic recruit in this class; in fact he's the highest-ranked wide receiver we've brought in for six years. Forget what Scout says. They completely forgot about Smith and don't even list him as a commit. The #38 receiver in the country doesn't seem that high, but if you go back on Rivals' history, the #38 receiver has gone to places like Michigan, Alabama, and Ohio State - the latter being Santonio Holmes. Smith had offers from not only the regional powers, but schools from the Big Ten and SEC as well. He's in good company.

An explosive senior season helped shoot him up the rankings - much excitement was generated when he moved from a three-star to a four-star recruit following Rivals' postseason re-evaluation. Smith hooked up with quarterback Philip Sims (who will be the Next Big Thing that Wahoo fans pine for this summer) for dozens of touchdowns, and usually sat out fourth quarters after Oscar Smith, one of the top 10 teams in the land, racked up yet another 40-point lead on a hapless opponent. He capped his season with 224 yards and four touchdowns in the state championship game, just a taste of the way he torched and tortured opposition defenders all year long.

On video, it's easy to see why Smith dominated so much this year. He has an excellent eye for the ball and a knack for adjusting to make a catch. More than that, though, his first three steps are deadly. Usually - not always, but usually - he's the fastest guy on the field, but his first gear is top-notch. He ran a lot of fly patterns because he's too obviously better than high school cornerbacks and can do what he likes with them, but against college players he's juuust a little bit small to do that consistently. Where I think he'll absolutely excel is on wide receiver screens and slant patterns and such. Stuff designed to get him the ball in space where he can take those first three steps and make a corner or a safety pay for underestimating his acceleration.

With so many of our receivers leaving and so few proven players returning, Smith should have just as good a shot as any receiver on the roster to earn playing time in the fall. When he becomes a polished route runner he'll be a very, very difficult player to cover one-on-one. I'll stop short of saying we have the next Michael Crabtree here, but Smith has a shot at being as good as any receiver we've had this decade.

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