Number: #16 | Hometown: Atlanta, GA | Birthdate: 08/07/96 | Height: 5100 | Weight: 185 | Forty: 4.48E | Twitter: @ImDaMan_4 | Projection: Day Three/PFA | Class: 2019 (rSR)
A fiery, high energy player whose teammates gravitate towards to as the emotional leader of the defense. Demonstrates strong man coverage ability and natural football instincts, to go along with the smarts to understand formations/anticipate plays. Does a nice job contesting jump balls and chopping the ball/arm to prevent completion. Takes pride in playing with a short memory and while he doesn’t get beat often, he shows extremely quick recovery speed when he does. Has stepped up his time in the film room and embraced the leadership role heading into his senior season. Flashes intangibles in his demeanor and style of play such as passion, competitiveness and consistency. Has been recognized on the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List, Dean’s List and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll on multiple occasions.
Will be viewed as a bit undersized which most likely means he’ll have to make the transition back to playing inside at the next level, after playing primarily on the outside during his final two seasons for the Fighting Peaches. Many of his tackles are of the trip up kind; he’s not a traditional wrap-up tackler. He broke the same hand in two consecutive seasons, thus pro scouts will want to see another full season of durability (he has played through injuries; 32 games in three seasons).
In 2015, he broke his hand in the second game against Mexico State (made the game-winning play) and missed the following game against Oregon. He came back to play the next four games in a cast, showing his grit. Missed UT Martin and South Alabama games in 2016 due to the same hand injury but still managed to finish third in the nation in catch radius as a sophomore. He also missed a game due to injury against Idaho in 2017.
Set a school record with 11 pass breakups in 2015. Currently second in school history with 21 career passes defended entering his senior campaign. He allowed just 0.48 yards per snap as a junior, which ranks as the third best in the nation amongst the 2019 NFL Draft Class.
Full name is Jerome Robert Smith. Grew up in a rough Atlanta neighborhood, as a Dallas Cowboys fan and was also a Mike Vick fan. He has strong knowledge about the history of the game. Started playing organized football at the age of nine and fell in love with the game from the get go, even sleeping in his uniform the first day it was issued. Parents had strict enforcement on grades; one sister was a valedictorian, both older sisters earned academic scholarships. Earned his degree in the spring of 2018 with a major in interdisciplinary studies.
QUOTE OF NOTE
“Last year I got a couple of personal flag penalties, so this year I just try to channel it all in. I just have to hold my temper and keep playing hard.” – Jerome Smith (October 2016) on how he’s working on eliminating penalties.
A four-year starter and one of the top cornerbacks in the Sun Belt Conference, he’ll play strictly on the boundary once again as a senior and will be expected to lock down the opposing team’s top receiver each week. He looks to carry over the momentum from last season, ending it with a bang, which included an interception for touchdown return in the bowl game against WKU. Entering 2018, he has collected five career interceptions and 16 pass breakups, along with 122 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. According to player, the only goal the team maintains is winning the conference.
A solid man cover corner who played inside and outside during freshman and sophomore seasons under the old coaching regime but has played primarily outside as a junior under the new staff. He feels most comfortable on the inside and his best projection is as a slot corner at the next level. He loves to talk trash on the field and lists teammate Penny Hart as the toughest player he has ever faced. This will be his second year with the new coaching staff, which should translate to playing with more familiarity within the defensive system. His speed/smarts/instincts skill-set could result in his best season to date. With a strong senior campaign and draft season showing, he has the potential to solidify himself as a day three selection come April.
2017 [rJR]: Totaled 38 tackles, including one for loss, one interception and four pass deflections in 11 games, helping the GSU defense set school record for fewest points allowed per game (24.75).
2016 [rSO]: Accumulated 40 tackles, three for loss, two sacks, three interceptions, along with 50 interception return yards, one touchdown and one pass deflection in ten games.
2015 [rFR]: Registered 43 tackles, two and a half for loss, one sack, one interception and set a school record with 11 pass breakups in 12 games.
2014 [FR]: Redshirted.
Three-year letter-winner for coach Corey Jarvis at Atlanta’s Benjamin E. Mays High School. Two-time all-area selection by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Earned first-team all-region honors (6-AAAAA) as a junior.