In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet a dynamic WR with speed, speed, and more speed: Miami (FL) Palmetto WR Brashard Smith.
In the pursuit of speed and playmaking ability for the new (FINALLY!!!!!) spread offense, Miami turned their attention to several players on the recruiting trail. But one was overlooked for quite a while: Miami (FL) Palmetto slot Brashard Smith. At only 5’9”, despite the fact that he would always flash elite performance on the field at camps and in 7v7 tournaments, Miami wasn’t high on Smith to start with.
Then, a funny thing happened: Smith elevated the level of his play. And, in doing so, he went from a periphery player on the recruiting trail, to a spotlight target for upper echelon Power 5 teams around the country. Many local SoFLA coaches and fans had long been on the Smith train, but now teams like Miami, Alabama, Florida, and Auburn were joining that group as well.
And then a funny thing happened: Smith committed to the Florida Gators. That was seen as a big recruiting win for Dan Mullen’s staff, and a loss for Miami. But, despite Smith’s commitment to the Gators, the Canes (and others) never stopped recruiting the dynamic speedster.
After attending a Junior Day recruiting event at Miami in late January, Smith would end up decommitting from Florida in March. Before that decision, and definitely after the move was made, all signs pointed to Smith picking the Canes. That move was finally made when Smith gave his pledge to the hometown Canes on July 26th.
On the 247sports composite, Smith is a 4-star prospect, the #37 WR nationally in this class, #32 in the State of Florida, and #214 recruit overall.
An Adidas All-American, Smith committed to Miami after flipping from Florida, and over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, and Oregon from a list of 30 offers from around the country.
As a Player
Speed. Speed. SPEED!!!!!! That’s what Smith’s game is all about.
At only 5’9” (and maybe not even that tall), Smith is a small player. He’s muscular for his size, but he’s short. And to be successful on the football field at that size, a player has to have an elite skill. Smith’s speed is that elite skill, to be sure.
Over the spring, Smith clocked 4.46 seconds in the 40 yard dash. That’s REALLY FAST. Only a handful of HS players are legit 4.4 guys with verified times, and Smith is one of them. And, at every 7v7 tournament and camp, Smith played to that elite speed, routinely running by defenders with ease.
When you have that kind of speed, you can play anywhere on the field. And Smith has been seen doing that. Running Back. Wildcat QB running a single wing run game. Slot WR. Kick returner. Punt returner. Outside WR. Line Smith up anywhere, scheme him into a mismatch, and let him cook.
Obviously at based on his diminutive stature, Smith isn’t a big outside #1 receiver type. But he doesn’t have to be, because wherever you line him up, he has the chance to score whenever he touches the football.
Here’s another evaluation of Smith by 247sports Southeast Recruiting Analyst Andrew Ivins:
One of the faster players in the Sunshine State this cycle owing a sub 4.5 40-yard dash time. Doesn’t have the ideal height or length, but does have a favorable build with some muscle already developed. A menace in the slot that’s capable of scoring anytime he touches the ball as extra gear allows him to pull away from defenses. Eats cushion with smooth route running and is able to keep cornerbacks and safeties guessing. Creative instincts make it difficult to bring him down one-on-one in space. Has shown the ability to break tackles and take hits, but has to get stronger if he’s going to produce on a consistent basis at the next level. Could also improve release as he often times likes to roll off the line of scrimmage. Must remain dedicated to being the fastest player on the field, but looks like someone that can be a weapon as an inside receiver for a Power 5 program. Versatile enough to double as a return man and even get snaps at running back.
- Positional versatility
- Overall technique can improve (can rely on speed to get the job done sometimes)
Note: changing this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player.
The quick way for Smith to earn reps will likely be on special teams. He’s both fast and quick, and can impact the game as a returner. And hey, maybe try him at gunner on punt coverage too. He might beat the ball down the field more often than not.
In terms of offense, Smith could see reps at slot WR or running back. He’s a perfect fit for the “offensive weapon” position, where you put him on the field and scheme ways to get him the ball in space. A short pass here. A jet sweep there. An RPO (as RB or WR). A bubble screen. A deep ball. And any number of other plays. If you’re having Smith only do one thing, that thing better be “be fast”. And he can do that all over the field. So use him all over the field.
With multiple slot receiver types on the roster, Smith could face an uphill battle to get on the field early on in his Miami career on offense. Or, he could prove himself to be a cut above those other players, and become the latest freshman receiver to crack the rotation for the Canes. Either is equally as likely to happen at this point.
To me, I think a slow build to Smith’s career is the likely progression. Some snaps on Specials as a freshman. Maybe a couple on base offense. And, over time, both roles grow to the point where Smith isn’t a novelty or limited guest start; he’s one of the foundational players for an up-tempo and dynamic Canes offense in his upperclassmen years.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.