Tag Archives: Florida football

Jordan Smith DE-OLB, UAB, Florida: Does he land?

A breakout 2019 season set up UAB’s Jordan Smith for 2020 and put everything on the table. Respond at the same high level and it would continue to restore his standing with NFL teams. Did the 6-foot-6, 255-pound stalwart deliver? Find out in our breakdown on Smith.

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Fluidity at his size. Rushes from the two-point ROLB/LOLB spots and has lined up at either defensive end. Plays the Sam in a number of their packages. As a three-technique DT or 4i-DE, he will use inside clubs to get skinny and make plays in the run game (ULL ’20). Gives OTs the dance footwork to set up his outside arm-over and wins inside (QB sack, 1st QTR, UTSA ’20). His change-up is the left-handed post to push the pocket (1st play, WKU ’20). Slippery, yet explosive on T-E stunts (QB hit, 2nd QTR, UTSA ’20). When intent (see below), he can set the edge with his length (run game). Chases down plays in pursuit (1st QTR/0:08, C-USA Champ ’19). Did a good job keeping contain early in the 2021 Senior Bowl (game). As a zone blitz dropper, he nearly picked off a slant pattern in the second quarter of the UTSA game in 2020. He had an athletic interception on a tipped pass against Western Kentucky in 2020. Runs down at the R4 on the kickoff team and made an assisted tackle on the unit vs. South Alabama in 2020. Then he nearly made the next tackle on the following kickoff (USA ’20).

Weaknesses: Penalties have been an issue in school. Lost composure against in the 2019 C-USA Championship game. He had an offsides penalty and personal foul in this game (3rd QTR). Posted a personal foul against ULL in the first quarter of their 2020 matchup. Posted a personal foul in the 2021 Senior Bowl. After he uses his slap down (of OT’s hands), he gets pushed too far up the field. Can he consistently set a firm edge in the run game (1st QTR, TD, C-USA Champ ’19)? He will get sloppy on the edge and lose contain vs. athletic QBs (Lewis, ULL ’20). Despite fluidity, Smith fails to change directions instantly. Did not stand out on his first kickoff cover repetition vs. Miami (Fla.) in 2020. Two career pass breakups. Off the field problems at Florida contributed to him being suspended for the entire 2017 season (https://www.palmbeachpost.com/article/20170927/SPORTS/812027714).

Smith finished the 2019 campaign with 10 quarterback sacks, 17.5 tackles for losses and four forced fumbles.

Other Notes: Attended Lithonia HS (Ga.) and was an Atlanta Journal Constitution Class 4A All-State selection after recording 86 tackles, 6 FFs and three TD receptions • He was ranked 211th in the ESPN300 Class of 2016 • 2015 Nike Sparq testing results: 4.75 40-yd, 4.63 20-yd SS, 29″ VJ • 2019 (14 gms, 2nd Team All-C-USA): 53 tackles, 10 QB sacks, 17.5 TFLs, 4 FFs, PBU • 2020 (8 gms, 1st Team All-C-USA): 41 tackles, 4.5 QB sacks, 9.5 TFLs, 36-yd INT, PBU • Career Stats: 94 tackles, 14.5 QB sacks, 27 TFLs, 4 FFs, INT, 2 PBUs • 2021 Senior Bowl measurements: 83 1/4″ wingspan, 9 1/4″ hands, 33 3/8″ arms • 2021 UAB Pro Day: 16 reps-225 lbs, 4.8 40-yd, 33″ VJ, 9’9″ BJ

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Smith came out of high school weighing in the 220-pound range as a linebacker/defensive end prospect. Considering his width, it was nearly a guarantee that he would develop into a hand in the dirt defensive end or rush outside linebacker. At UAB, he was used in both capacities. This has increased his draft stock for NFL teams. Smith still needs added repetitions establishing his pass rush counters and eliminating wasted movement out of a right-or-left-handed stance at end. When standing up, his flexibility allows him to strategize versus offensive tackles. Offensive tackles guide him by the pocket as a result on his speed-to-rip move. He has flashed using snatch-and-pull maneuvers or his patented coordinated swim moves. Teams will want to know more about the suspension at Florida. In addition, why did the needless penalties show up from time-to-time. It could be a reflection of the last chance attitude. We did not question Smith’s effort at any point in the film viewed and liked some of his work on the kickoff unit in school.

GRADE: 5.71 (3rd Round)

DN Big Board Rank: 185

Justus Reed 6’3 255 DE-Senior Virginia Tech: ‘Eight-Mile Road?’

Justus Reed (who now wears No. 9 for Virginia Tech) opened up the 2020 campaign with a solid outing against NC State’s veteran-laden offensive line. He was able to split two blockers (RT Justin Witt and RG Joe Sculthorpe) early in the contest versus turn protection to post the first of his two sacks on the evening. In addition, his right-handed pole move (from the LDE spot) long-armed Witt and got him off-balance a couple of times.

On the downside, he was inconsistent once staying frontal versus a gap-schemed run when having to spill the football versus the pulling guard (1st half, NC State ’20). Reed also lost contain on the quarterback during the first half of the contest.

Justus Reed (No. 97 pictured above at the six-technique DE spot vs. Michigan in the 2016 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl posting a tackle for loss on this play) got off to a huge start for Virginia Tech this past Saturday.

Nevertheless, his five-tackle, two-sack, two-tackle for loss performance versus the Wolfpack all started with a seventh year of eligibility.

Reed initially signed with Florida as the 285th-ranked player in the ESPN300 Class of 2014. The former Clearwater Central Catholic High School (Fla.) star posted two tackles for loss in 2015 for the Gators (see video above). The two tackles for loss in that season were sandwiched in-between a normal redshirt season in 2014 and a medical redshirt in 2016.

Injuries in Gainesville led him to leave the school for Youngstown State, where he was solid in 2017 (5 QB sacks, 6 TFLs) despite missing four games due to an arm injury (https://www.ysusports.com/sports/fball/2018-19/bios/reed_justus_swjx?view=bio). Reed finished his three-year run for the Penguins with 58 tackles, 17.5 quarterback sacks, 25 tackles for losses, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three pass break-ups.

VTScoop did a piece in April 2020 chronicling the cavernous journey of Reed’s career (https://247sports.com/college/virginia-tech/Article/Justus-Reeds-Perilous-Journey-leads-to-Virginia-Tech-146165755/), which included a medical redshirt for an Achilles injury in 2018.

Reed (who now wears No. 9 at Virginia Tech) played three seasons at both Florida and Youngstown State before arriving in Blacksburg, Virginia.

NFL scouts may be put off by the extensive injury history, but pass rushers find a way to get home. In Reed’s case, getting back on the field was home plate. He broke down his own personal satisfaction after the Penguins win over Illinois State on November 17, 2019:

“Worked really hard this offseason (2019). Shout out to Terry Grossetti (Youngstown State strength and conditioning coach),” Reed said with a smile. “Just came out and did everything I could do. So it feels good.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb7Geymqq3I)

Now that Reed has gotten this far, the only question is whether or not he will stay on Virginia Tech’s campus for an unprecendented eighth year.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, this season will not count against any player’s eligibility. Reed became just the fifth player to earn a seventh year of eligibility this century when he opened the 2020 season in the ACC. In 2021, he will have yet another opportunity to take advantage of that rare seventh year next fall.

So could the current Hokie actually add another mile to his seven-mile hike?

For now, the 24-year old is attempting to make another lengthy topic take over the headlines.

“I think I have pretty good length, my arms are pretty long. I can’t remember when, but we had scouts come, and they were freaking out because my arms are so long. I’ve been told I’ve been good with my hands. Converting speed to power using my long arms. Doing whatever I have to do to get back there,” Reed said in the aforementioned VTScoop piece (https://247sports.com/college/virginia-tech/Article/Justus-Reeds-Perilous-Journey-leads-to-Virginia-Tech-146165755/).

If he can continue to get to the quarterback in the ACC, then the former Florida Gator may not have to go down the eight-mile road.