In this installment of the Recruit Notebook, we meet a talented DB with a history of winning, and a chip on his shoulder: S Derrick Smith.
Miami has been looking for DBs in the 2017 recruiting class from the beginning. Early on in this cycle, Jacksonville (FL) Trinity Christian S Derrick Smith looked like he might be a top target for this class.
But, instead of a commitment to Miami, Smith’s recruitment went silent. And, shortly after that, Smith was said to be favoriting another of CFB’s premier programs: USC.
As Jacksonville Trinity made their way through their season, which culminated in Florida’s 3A State Championship, the connection of Smith to Miami seemed low, if any. It seemed that Smith was a backup plan at DB as Miami pursued other players.
That is, of course, until Smith committed to Miami on December 13th.
Multiple reports stated that the hangup between Smith and Miami wasn’t desire to be a Cane, but a qualifying test score that would be enough to get him into UM. Once Smith had that, and made it clear that he wanted to come to Miami, things wrapped up quickly.
In the end, Smith picked Miami as the place to develop his game and bring his talents. And, in doing so, added another talented player to the incoming DB class for Miami, which is something they sorely needed.
On the 247sports composite, Smith is a 3-star prospect, the #129 WR in this class, the #124 player in the State of Florida, and the #891 player in this class overall. While Smith is listed as a WR, he was recruited to Miami as a Safety. Smith plays for a smaller school (Jacksonville Trinity Christian), where most of the top players play both ways. It is for that reason that I believe he is listed as a WR, not that he’ll play there in college.
Smith committed to Miami over 15 other offers including Southern Cal (the school to which many thought Smith would commit), Kentucky, North Carolina State, and Virginia Tech.
Smith as a player
From his time and experience at WR, Smith has very good ball skills for a Safety. Smith shows good range at S, and makes plays from sideline to sideline. He’s a decent enough athlete that once he diagnoses something, he can run the play down.
Smith uses his height and leaping ability well at the point of the catch. He made several nice interceptions like this in HS, and also had a few nice PBUs this way, as well. Smith wasn’t really used much in man to man coverage, but that’s not what Safeties usually do.
Because he was a WR, I expected Smith to be a finesse player at FS. That is very much the opposite of the truth. Smith showed good physicality making some nice, hard tackles in both run support and pass defense, and he separated the ball from the receiver with a couple huge hits on film.
When you watch his HUDL highlights in a minute, that first play is the good and bad of Smith in one shot. It should have been called targeting — that’s the bad — but Smith showed great range to get to the point of catch, and very good physicality with the fierce hit.
Smith has some nice attributes for a Safety. He has good height, is well built, very nice ball skills from his time at WR, and surprising (to me) physicality. He played for a school that is renowned for their player development of DBs, and will only benefit from a full-time transition to the defensive side of the ball.
Chances for a redshirt: 7/10
While I think Smith has the chance to be a nice player at Miami, I think that will come in the future, not in 2017.
That’s it for this installment of the Recruit Notebook.