Over the past decade, even when talented players have been on campus, the ‘Canes offensive line has been a weakness. Miami has produced NFL talent in Brandon Linder, Ereck Flowers, and Seantrel Henderson but the overall line play has been weak. New offensive line coach Butch Barry is well aware of this and looks to improve it via recruiting and development. Barry has been hard at work getting commitments from Jalen Rivers, Chris Washington and Antonio Smith.
Part 1: Jalen Rivers (click here)
Part 2: Chris Washington (click here)
Here’s my look at Antonio Smith who projects as a guard at the next level.
Antonio Smith is a guard prospect out of Ocala Vanguard High School in Florida. He’s a three-star prospect rated below Jalen Rivers but above Chris Washington by 247 Sports. Smith is six-foot-two, 272 pounds and carries the weight well like Rivers and Washington. That seems to be a trend from Coach Barry, the athletic big man with a frame versus the oversized manchild they’ll have to take weight off.
Below- Smith locks on and never lets go.
Strengths: Aggressiveness. You have to enjoy watching this film and seeing an old school guard type (even if he’s at tackle in high school). He’s nasty, he finishes blocks, there’s no push there’s a jab, lock and drive out. Almost every block ends in a legit pancake.
Below- Smith plays a bit high and leans on defenders at times.
Again, I like that Smith can work a combo, come off quickly, and find the 2nd level defender. He’s not as proficient at that as Washington but Washington was a plus-rated come-off guy in my opinion.
Below- Smith has a slow kick-slide, no punch in pass pro.
Weaknesses: Pass protection is also a weak spot for Smith, like it was for Washington. Smith’s technique is at least present, it’s a kick-slide. His kick-slide is a bit slow, and you can’t see any punch or separation from him. He doesn’t bring his hips on the contact and the defender gets inside of him. A quality defensive end would’ve thrown him off and made a hard inside move on the QB.
Also- Smith is going to have to work on his flexibility and hips. There’s an on-going argument right now on Twitter from offensive line coaches about the chutes. If you don’t know, chutes are giant metal things O-Line coaches have made players get in for years. When you stand too tall... you literally whack your head on a giant metal pole as punishment. The boys from Offensive Line Performance (@OLPerformance) believe playing too tall is a weight room issues, not a chutes issue.
Dropping shoulders, or bending at waist. Yea, maybe not the answer you wanted to hear, because it’s not a quick fix. It’s a process that takes time. So, fix the ankles, hips, and get stronger... boom... “pad level” solved. Again, great question.— Offensive Line Performance (@OLPerformance) July 17, 2019
Reasons to be excited: Just go fire up your Hudl machine and watch him play (link is here). You’re going to be happy with the aggressive football the kid plays even if there are flaws like leverage. That’s something the OLP guys feel can be fixed in the weight room and from there he’s going to be a bad bad man in orange and green.
I’m excited for Smith to come to Miami. I think Butch Barry has established clarity confidence conviction in what he’s looking for in an offensive lineman and it shows. He wants the leaner, athletic, mauler type that likes to get dirty. They might need some time to grow into being a college player but they won’t take three years of losing weight, it’s six months with David Feeley putting weight on. I like the approach and it’s exactly what I look for in a lineman, too.
Miami has the first offensive lineman commit in its 2020 recruiting class with Ocala Vanguard's Antonio Smith. https://t.co/iALenohuJO pic.twitter.com/ZzggGROlCf— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) March 24, 2019