Coach Speak: P.J. Smith

Huskers sign a good on in Smith

This past week for Husker fans has had its ups and downs. One of the peaks was a commitment from a monster safety, P.J. Smith. The 6-foot-3 and 205-pound Smith, from River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian was inundated with requests for an interview following his choice. Coach J.T. Curtis was pleased to speak with Big Red Report about Smith and his future as a Husker.

You can always ask the player about their skills. Sometimes, you will get an honest assessment. Some might embellish. Some don't speak too highly of themselves because they are just humble. Big Red Report spoke to J.T. Curtis, the head coach at River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian about P.J. Smith.

"He has some tremendous size for a safety," Coach Curtis said. "He brings to the table what you look for in a safety. That is great size, lanky-tall kid, about 200 pounds, runs well and covers the field well.

"But, I think the other thing that he brings, that I think will make him special, is that he is a hitter. He's a guy that is very aggressive. He will come down in the box, for run support, and be a very sure and a very physical tackler. Those things separate him from others at that position."

There are some thoughts that at 6-foot-3 and around 200 pounds, that Smith could potentially move down and play linebacker at some point. Coach Curtis agrees, but he also said that Smith could be an amazing wide receiver as well.

"Well, there is just no downside to him. He could very easily grow into being a very big, physical linebacker at Nebraska. He could also play wide receiver. He didn't do that a lot for us, but he has natural ability there and is a great receiver. Smith has great hands.

"There is just no real downside to him in terms of his potential contribution to a football team. Certainly, playing linebacker is a possibility in the future if he continues to grow. If he gets to 230 or 240 pounds, he could certainly play that position."

If Smith is capable of playing wide receiver at the next level, that must mean that Smith has good speed. Coach Curtis said that Smith is a track guy and that without a doubt that Smith is just scratching the surface when it comes to realizing his full potential.

"He's running in the mid to low 4.5 range. I am not big on timing them, but he was the anchor on the 4x200m relay team. He has great body control and excellent speed. His best days are in front of him when it comes to his football days."

As a junior, Smith logged 28 tackles, four interceptions and broke up 14 passes to help lead John Curtis to a Class 2A State Championship. On offense, Smith had 10 receptions for 124 yards and three scores. As a senior, Smith recorded 74 tackles and three interceptions on his way to earning Class 2A All-State recognition.

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