On January 1st, wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith and the UCF Knights will take on seventh-ranked Auburn in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl. He has not yet declared for the draft, but with head coach Scott Frost leaving for Nebraska at season’s end, it would make sense for him to make the leap to the NFL.
Smith is a redshirt junior who was a three-sport high school athlete (football, basketball, and track). He did not start playing football until his junior year. While Smith attended small school UCF, he received offers from many major Division 1 programs, including Miami, UCLA, Virginia Tech, and Arkansas.
|Year||Games||Rec||Rec Yards||YPR||Rec TD||MSRECYD||MSRECTD||DR|
UCF was a terrible football team in 2015, winning no games, and throwing for fewer than 2,500 yards. Still, Smith managed to break out as a redshirt freshman, accounting for at least 30 percent of both UCF’s receiving yards and TDs. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a birth date for Smith, but assuming he was a prospect of average age coming out of high school, that puts his breakout age somewhere between 19 and 20.
Under Frost, Smith’s production stayed level from a market share perspective, but his raw totals improved as the offense improved. His final season dominator rating was the worst of his collegiate career, but Smith caught 13 TDs and averaged a whopping 20 yards per reception. He has no return stats to his resume but did rush for a TD in 2017.
Smith is listed as 6-foot-1 and 201 pounds by NFL Draft Scout. His projected 40 time is listed as 4.5 but could be as low as 4.42, which would certainly boost his draft stock. Because he will have the opportunity to play in a high-profile bowl game against a great team, Smith can really pump up his value with a big game. If the game goes well, and he has a productive pre-draft process, I could see him sneaking into the back-end of the first round, similar to UCF alum Breshad Perriman.
Smith has the much more impressive resume in terms of production, but Perriman was about 10 pounds heavier and shredded his pro-day, posting a 40 time of 4.26. As we saw with John Ross last year, big numbers in the 40 can propel you up the draft board. Still, it is encouraging for Smith that a player (who probably isn’t as good) from the same school has been a first-round pick fairly recently.
Smith is one of my personal favorite WR prospects for 2018. After starting his career as the only show in town, he was able to demonstrate explosiveness and production in a talented and diverse offensive attack. He also broke out at, presumably, a young age. I expect to hear Smith’s name frequently in the pre-draft process and hope that it leads to him hearing his name called on day one of the draft.
While you await the Peach Bowl, check out highlights from UCF’s 51-23 victory over Cincinnati where Smith scored a career-high four TDs.