Was a top defensive recruit as a North Carolina prep, helping his school to back-to-back state titles and a 30-game winning streak. Enrolled at Arkansas in 2010 and played in six games as a true freshman, recording three tackles and one pass breakup. Appeared in all 13 games (three starts) in 2011 and had 31 tackles, six tackles for losses and 3.5 sacks with one pass batted. Moved into the starting lineup at left defensive end in 2012 and recorded 52 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks with four passes batted and one forced fumble. Was arrested in October 2012 after missing a court date for a speeding ticket (64 mph in a 45-mph zone); when he failed to appear, a warrant was issued (he was released on $415 bond). Made 12 starts in 2013 and tallied 36 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks with one pass batted. Team captain.
Long arms. Very good take-off, burst and closing speed. Wins with quickness and effort. Plays hard with good urgency and runs to the ball. Good finishing speed and hustle in backside pursuit. Gradually improving strength. Likable personality with natural leadership traits. Has a 37-inch vertical jump.
Lacks functional playing strength and can be controlled easily when big-bodied blockers get their hands on him (see Alabama). Struggles to split the double team. Not a nuanced pass rusher -- reliant on upfield speed too much. Can do a better job diagnosing the run more quickly and shedding blocks.
A weakside pass rusher who could most ideally project to the rush linebacker position in the pros for a 3-4 front, Smith graded more highly as a junior than he did as a senior, yet possesses the tools to earn a starting job in the pros in multiple schemes. Versatility is a plus.