February 6, 2013

Meet the Recruit: LaChaston Smith


Described as a "heat-seeking missile," LaChaston Smith is a run-and-hit linebacker prospect who earned mid/high 3-star status from both 247 and Rivals.  Two special things about Smith: 1) He's a power conference recruit from North Carolina, typically a tough draw for Virginia, and 2) He's a good student who enrolled at UVA in January and is set to participate in spring practice with the Hoos.  He's already here, and he's already preparing to play.  But where exactly he might play is still in question.  At 6-0, 205, he's admittedly a little bit small for linebacker.  Since he was a record-breaking running back in high school, he has requested the chance to practice and compete at that position this spring, an has been allowed his fair chance to do so.  I have mixed feelings about this, mostly because we specifically recruited him to play a position of great need in this recruiting class (linebacker), and because I think he should be focused on bulking up and learning the nuances of that position, not moonlighting at running back.  I think we have to assume he'll end up back at linebacker before too long, however -- running back is a very CROWDED position for us right now.  At linebacker, Smith's lack of height could haunt him, but he's got pretty special speed and hitting ability.

UVA Projection:  I think we're looking at a future core special teams player here, with some amount of upside to crack the two-deep at linebacker by his 3rd or 4th season in the program.  I think the Tenuta pressure scheme plays to Smith's specific strengths, so he could be a sub-package player earlier in his career, given how his skills translate to good ability to blitz and attack.  I don't think he'll ever be a star at UVA, but he brings some good, unique traits to the table as a career role player.  You need talented kids like this on your depth chart if you want to be a good team.  He's definitely talented, and a proven winner.



2 comments:

  1. He is also a 4 star on ESPN, I wouldn't completely write off his chances to become one of the better linebackers in the ACC.

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  2. Hey Anonymous, thanks for reading!

    I'm not writing anything off -- I'd love to see LaChaston be the next Patrick Willis! I'm just making my best guess at this. There just aren't very many big-time linebackers below 6-2 or so. And with Smith wanting to see where RB takes him, it tells me he's not fully embracing the linebacker position... yet.

    I'll gladly eat crow if I'm wrong, and I'm certainly rooting for LaChaston Smith to be the best player he can be!

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