In this installment of The Recruit Notebook, we meet an under-the-radar receiver who could be the biggest steal in the entire 2020 recruiting class nationally: Keyshawn Smith
Miami was pretty much done at WR after the Early Signing period. With Daz Worsham, Michael Redding III, and Xavier Restrepo all in the boat (and early enrollees to boot), there was a good group of players at this position already coming to the U.
But, sometimes, circumstances change. And such was the case with WR Keyshawn Smith.
A talented 6’1” 170lb standout from San Diego (CA) Lincoln, Smith was committed and signed to Washington State. Former Cougars coach Mike Leach, a renowned offensive mastermind, picked Smith as one of the 3 WRs in this class for Wazzu. That’s high praise, to be clear.
So, Smith signed with Wazzu and was all ready to go to Pullman to be a Cougar. And then Leach left to be the head coach at Mississippi State. And Smith started looking around.
When Leach left and Smith started to evaluate other options — upon being released from his NLI at Wazzu — Canes TE coach Stephen Field, the West Coach recruiter on staff, was among the first calls Smith made. And Field, being the intrepid recruiter that he is, got to work in a hurry.
In a matter of days, Smith applied to, was admitted by, and enrolled at Miami. His enrollment was completed on the last day to add a class for spring semester (a Tuesday), and Smith took a red-eye flight from San Diego to Miami to be on campus and in class the next day.
It was a whirlwind recruitment in terms of the connection between Smith and Miami, but the Canes have added another fast and talented receiver to the offense for 2020 and beyond.
On the 247sports composite, Smith is a 3-star prospect, the #109 WR nationally in this class, #60 in the State of California, and #710 recruit overall.
Smith committed to, and enrolled at, Miami after being released from his NLI to Washington State, and claimed offers from Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, and Hawaii, among others.
As a player
The first thing that pops out when you watch Smith’s highlights is the smooth way he runs. Smith glides more than labors when he runs, but he FLIES. This is a kid with serious speed. Smith’s running style reminds me of a smoother Stacy Coley in terms of body positioning and the ease of his gait.
Smith can play inside or outside, but was the featured WR in his HS offense. With his blazing speed, Smith was as likely to score on a go route as he was on a screen pass. Smith is a natural pass catcher who doesn’t fight the ball like some younger players do. And that’s a good thing.
While Smith is most often seen running by defenders — again, on either deep routes over the top or short routes where he picks he was through traffic before tuning on the jets — he can also make tough, contested catches against tight coverage. Here’s one such play as evidence, which was featured on ESPN’s “You got Moss’d” segment:
@TheHiveFootball increase the lead to 16-3 over the @MMHSMarauders with thIs SPECTACULAR CATCH in the end zone @cifsds division 2 championship game 4th quarter 8 minutes remaining #cifdivision2championship #YouGotMossed pic.twitter.com/4hRYgLrFQz— 97.3 The Fan (@973TheFanSD) November 24, 2018
At 6’1” 170lbs, Smith has good size to go along with his impressive speed, quickness, and athleticism. Smith’s brothers stand 6’5” and 6’6”, however, so there’s potential for him to continue to grow physically as well. Evidence Njoku kept growing when he was at Miami, so don’t dismiss that possibility with Smith as being wholly impossible.
- Catching ability
- Ability to play multiple WR positions
- Thin build
- Jack of all trades, master of none (what is he GREAT at doing?)
After seeing Jeff Thomas leave early for the NFL, Brian Hightower elect to transfer, and KJ Osborn graduate, Miami needed to add numbers and talent at WR. THough he was a late addition to the class, Smith brings both things to the Canes roster.
Chances for a Redshirt: 5/10
Smith is thought to be one of the biggest sleepers Nationally in this class, with speed and game-breaking ability. He could just as easily harness that ability and earn his way onto the field as a freshman as he could need a year to develop before hitting the field. We’ll see which way things go.
That’s it for this installment of the Recruiting Notebook.