Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the recruit: Bobby Smith

Name: Bobby Smith
Position: WR
Hometown: Richmond
School: Varina
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 200

ESPN: 76, #93 WR
Rivals: 5.5, three stars
Scout: two stars

Because Smith committed right around the time Tyree Watkins booked it for Duke, a lot of folks viewed the situation as essentially replacing Watkins with Smith. This was, for the most part, a slight downgrade in the star ratings department, but this matters little because while Watkins was playing footsie with nearly every other school who came calling and exhibiting a pretty bad attitude overall about the process, Smith was saying everything short of "cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, I'm coming to UVA if I get an offer."

Besides, is Watkins six feet six inches? No, he is not. Basketball height is Smith's #1 asset and he uses it well. Smith isn't really a terrific route runner. He's a little bit slow breaking out and even on his highlight films, he's not actually open most of the time, unless the cornerback is giving him a huge cushion. This tends not to matter, because no matter how well covered Smith might be, the cornerback is still only five foot something and Smith has another catch. He excels at adjusting to the ball whether it's thrown behind him or over his head or what have you. The thing that's going to be very nice indeed is that 6'6" players generally aren't considered good prospects to be cornerbacks, because being top-heavy like that with a high center of gravity makes it difficult to have the kind of athletic reactions needed to cover an equally athletic player whose route you don't know. Typically guys who use their size and/or speed to dominate high schoolers have a learning curve in college because everybody used their size and/or speed to dominate high schoolers, but in the case of tall wide receivers like Smith, really, he'll still be able to take full advantage of his height.

As for his playing time chances this year, they're basically as good as any of the receivers in this class, what with all the openings on the depth chart. Tim Smith is still the most polished and exciting of the bunch, but all of them, Bobby Smith included, have a chance to impress in camp. In this regard Bobby may have an ever so slight leg up on the competition, because being recruited so late in the process means OC Gregg Brandon didn't inherit him; Brandon was the one who was impressed by the tape and had a huge hand in recruiting him. While I'd like to see Smith redshirt a year to work on his route running, I can't deny I'd be pretty damn excited to see him trot onto the field on third-and-goal from the two. If there's one thing he should be able to do from Day 1 it's run a fade route. Just wish I could read the mind of the cornerback who has to cover him in that situation and is wondering how he's supposed to do that when standing up straight means reading the numbers on Smith's chest.

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