Marcus Smith (WR)
The former Lobos tailback established himself among the elite pass catchers in the Mountain West Conference during his last two years as the starting flanker. With his size, speed and strength, he showed great intermediate area pass catching ability, as he consistently came up with clutch receptions in a crowd.
The team captain also excelled on special teams, as he would end his New Mexico career by registering 29 tackles (22 solos) with a fumble recovery on the punt coverage unit. He averaged 19.9 yards on 68 kickoff returns and ranks sixth all-time in Lobo annals with 3,749 all-purpose yards, gaining more than 100 yards in 19 of 49 contests during his career.
Pound-for-pound, Smith is one of the nation's strongest receivers. He boasts a 355-pound bench press, 308-pound power clean and 445-pound squat. He ranks fourth in school history with 153 receptions and seventh with 2,073 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.
At Morse High School, Smith did not play organized football until his sophomore year. He earned first-team All-Western League honors as a tailback and second-team accolades as a free safety by his final season. He rushed for more than 1,800 yards and 30 touchdowns during his final two years, including 1,000 yards and 19 scores his senior season. He also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and had two interceptions, including one that he returned for a score.
Smith also lettered in track-and-field. He was timed at a career best 10.7 seconds in the 100 meters. He also competed in the triple jump and 400- and 1,600-meter relays. An Honor Roll student, he graduated with a 3.50 grade point average.
Smith enrolled at New Mexico in 2003, spending the season on the scout team as a tailback. He shifted to flanker in 2004, but saw most of his action as a gunner on the special team coverage units, recording 13 tackles (11 solos) and a fumble recovery. He also performed at tailback, gaining 146 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries (10.4 avg.). He added 33 yards on three catches and averaged 15.5 yards on 15 kickoff returns.
The reserve flanker appeared in 11 games behind Travis Brown in 2005. He posted eight tackles (3 solos) with 133 yards on seven kickoff returns (19.0 avg.) on special teams. He amassed 124 yards on 23 rushes (5.4 avg) and two touchdowns. He also made six catches for 56 yards (9.3 avg.).
Smith took over flanker duties as a junior, earning All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention. He finished second on the team with 53 receptions for 859 yards (16.2 avg.) and nine touchdowns, adding 22 yards on seven carries. He averaged 18.6 yards on 18 kickoff returns and delivered four solo tackles on special teams.
As a senior, Smith was an All-MWC first-team choice, as he ranked tied for 14th nationally with 91 catches, tied for 24th in the country with 1,125 yards receiving (12.4 avg.) and had four touchdowns. He rushed 10 times for 31 yards and piled up 653 yards on 28 kickoff returns (23.3 avg.). He also ranked third in the league with 139.2 all-purpose yards per game, adding four solo tackles on special teams.
Smith started 25 of 49 games at New Mexico. He hauled in 153 passes for 2,073 yards (13.5 avg) and 13 touchdowns. He rushed 54 times for 323 yards (6.0 avg.) and five scores, adding 1,353 yards on 68 kickoff returns (19.9 avg.). He totaled 108 points and 3,749 all-purpose yards. He also recorded 29 tackles (22 solos) and recovered a fumble.
Attended Morse (San Diego, Cal.) High School, playing football for head coach John Shacklette...Did not play organized football until his sophomore year...Earned first-team All-Western League honors as a tailback and second-team accolades as a free safety by his final season...Rushed for more than 1,800 yards and 30 touchdowns during his final two years, including 1,000 yards and 19 scores his senior season...Also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and had two interceptions, including one that he returned for a score...Lettered in track-and-field...Timed at a career best 10.7 seconds in the 100 meters...Also competed in the triple jump and 400- and 1,600-meter relays...An Honor Roll student, he graduated with a 3.50 grade point average.
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Positives: Has a tight-skinned frame with well-developed upper body muscles, adequate arm length, large, soft hands, tight waist and abdomen and tapered thighs and legs...Has good timed speed (has lettered on the school's track team, but needs to use it better (tends to drift on long routes and lacks suddenness out of his stance)...Has good wrap-up tackle technique and shows good urgency getting down the field to break up the edge on the special team coverage units...Displays good foot quickness, speed and acceleration on short-area routes...Has good elusiveness and quickness after the catch, allowing him to pick up extra yards, especially when he uses his stiff arm to shock a smaller defender...Quick in and out of his breaks working underneath, but must generate better explosion throughout his route progression...Shows good balance and change-of-direction while running routes, allowing him to steer and create lanes...Will not have problems learning a complicated offense...Shows good savvy and awareness on the field and is a good competitor as a receiver and a blocker, but will get too frustrated after making a bad play, taking more than several snaps to recover...Makes plays in traffic and has that big-play mentality where he wants the ball in crunch time...A hard worker in the weight room and on the practice field, he does the little extras after practice to improve his craft...Physically tough kid who will play hurt...A quick-twitch athlete with adequate suddenness at the line, but needs to be more explosive coming out of his stance...Closes defenders' cushions quickly, using a good burst and acceleration to get downfield...Inconsistent here, but has the size, strength and foot quickness to beat press coverage...Doesn't get rerouted vs. bump-and-run, but must be more effective in attempts to release hard from scrimmage and run more precise routes...Sticks his foot in the ground and makes tight speed cuts working underneath, but will drift in his patterns on long routes...Displays good field awareness, finding soft spots in zone coverage and knows where the boundaries are, doing a nice job of keeping his feet in bounds...Has the strength and size to gain separation vs. smaller defenders, but must use his hand punch with more regularity...Can turn a short reception into a big gain, as he knows how to create separation on short-to-medium routes...Has the size and strength to compete and catch in traffic and shows the ability to extend and pluck the ball away from his frame... His strong hands allow him to secure the ball in tight coverage and he shows good courage going up for the ball across the middle...Possesses good body control and ball skills when adjusting to make tough catches along the boundaries...Works hard to locate second level defenders as a cut blocker, but needs to show better hand punch and desire when asked to block at the line of scrimmage.
Negatives: Needs to improve his mental toughness, as he tends to let little things bother him (struggled to finish his routes at the Senior Bowl and frustrated the coaches with his pouting on the field during practices)...Doesn't respond well to hard coaching...More effective as a short-to-medium range receiver, showing very little as a deep threat...An inconsistent blocker...Needs to vary his speed in the short area to prevent from out-running the ball...Has good timed speed, but seems slower when running longer routes, as he drifts in and out of his patterns and lacks the natural hand/eye coordination to look the ball in over his outside shoulder (catches most of his balls in stride or when facing the QB)...Has good hands, but will lose concentration at times, leading to several dropped balls...Must show better awareness when the quarterback is flushed out to break out of his routes and come back towards the ball...Likes to overpower defenders, but if he shows more elusiveness, he won't have to take so much punishment after the catch...Also has problems getting a clean release vs. the jam, as he doesn't use his hands properly to get a good push off the defender...His patterns lose integrity the longer he stretches it, as he will drift or round his cuts the further he is away from the line of scrimmage...Needs to play up to his timed speed (lacks suddenness coming out of his stance and will false step, at times).
Compares To: DAVID TYREE-New York Giants...Like Tyree, Smith brings instant value on special teams as a gunner. He could fill in as a kickoff returner in an emergency, but is not really a standout performer in that area. He shows good strength as a blocker, but needs to use his hands better when trying to escape the jam. He gets frustrated too much when he fails to make the play and will get taken out of his element too often. The problem is, he has an eggshell for confidence and quickly hides when hard coaching is needed. There is talent there, but still very raw, as he needs route refinement skills, must show better vision on long routes and must not think about that one bad play for too long.
No injuries reported.
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