Roseville, CA | 6011 | 245 | 4.68E | 2019
Smart, tough, athletic backer who relies upon his read and react instincts to get the job done. Possesses tremendous vision and is known to be highly competitive. Shows up every week with maximum effort—a lunch bucket guy. Shows a true nose for the football and demonstrates active hands. Has some background intangibles that only helped to strengthen his game along the way, having started at quarterback and starred in wrestling while in high school. When the Trojans switched defensive coordinators from Justin Wilcox to Clancy Pendergast, they also switched schemes from a 3-4 base to a 5-2 look, which resulted in him playing more inside and being responsible for a gap or a zone, as opposed to roaming sideline-to-sideline. He tore his ACL during the tenth game of his freshman season, an injury he says was present since his freshman year of high school. He returned to action in time for the start of his sophomore campaign and started every game. He missed some action during the Spring of 2017 due to a stiff neck. His biggest knock will be his speed; he may not test well but he knows angles and is a pure football player.
2016: Smith, coming off an eye-opening first-year performance in 2015, returned as a starting inside linebacker as a sophomore in 2016. Overall in 2016 while starting all 13 games, he had a team-best 83 tackles, including 7 for losses of 24 yards (with a 6-yard sack), plus 4 deflections, 1 fumble recovery and 1 forced fumble and he returned an onside kick 7 yards. He was limited in 2016 spring practice while recovering from 2015 knee surgery, as well as rehabbing a shoulder sprain.
2015: Smith, who enrolled at USC in the spring of 2015 after graduating a semester early from high school, started at inside linebacker as a first-year freshman in 2015 until suffering a late-season knee injury. Overall in 2015 while appearing in USC’s first 10 games (and starting all but California), he had 78 tackles, including a 9-yard sack, plus 3 deflections, a fumble recovery and 3 interceptions (1 for a TD). He tore knee ligaments against Colorado and had season-ending surgery.
High School: He made 2014 Prep Star All-American Dream Team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, Max Preps All-State Division I first team, USA Today All-California, Orange County Register Fab 15 second team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Max Preps All-Northern California first team, Max Preps All-Sac-Joaquin first team and Sacramento Bee All-Metro first team as a senior linebacker at Granite Bay (Calif.) High. He had 148 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 4 interceptions (2 for TDs) in 2014.
Personal: He is a communication major at USC. He played youth football against eighth graders when he was in fourth grade.