Out Of The Shadows: Keith Smith, San Jose State
By Matt LaPan
San Jose State has come into notoriety in 2013 due to the fantastic play of quarterback David Fales. Fales’ name will be heard in most quarterback discussions but one of his teammates is quietly having one of the best defensive seasons in the FCS. That player: linebacker Keith Smith.
Smith the senior leader of San Jose State’s defense who has an innate ability to make plays from sideline to sideline. Smith has good speed and hits holes very quickly. He has also shown a good ability to quickly diagnose plays and fill the hole. Smith currently has 80 total tackles through the first five games, good for 16 a game (first in the country).
As important as all the tackle numbers are for Smith, his willingness to attack blockers in space makes him an extremely attractive option to the NFL. Smith consistently meets blockers in space and uses his surprising strength to either swallow up the defender or uses his hands to get off blocks, which he does more often than not.
Smith has also shown in the past that he has a great ability to make plays in the backfield, although he has not made many in recent seasons. This change can be attributed to his move from outside to inside linebacker, but the ability is there.