“He’s gotten better,” said Arizona State Head Coach Dennis Erickson of Greg Smith. “We haven’t made a decision of what we’re going to do with him yet. He’s very athletic. He’s a guy that hasn’t played defense all that much. We just recruited him because he can run. Played (defensive end) as a junior, didn’t play much a senior – he played as a tight end.
“He’s our type of guy that you can put at end and he can run like heck. He’s 250 now and will probably be 270 in a year.”
The Perris (Calif.) Citrus Hill standout was listed as the no. 60 tight end in the nation by Scout.com. As a junior he collected 11 sacks, three fumble recoveries and three blocked punts from his defensive end position. During his high school career he caught 33 passes for 712 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Smith started the Sun Devils’ fall camp on the third team, missed a couple of weeks of practice due to personal reasons, and also had to wait until the beginning of September to be cleared academically by the NCAA. However, despite all those obstacles he was able to prevail and open the eyes of the coaching staff.
“It’s a blessing,” Smith acknowledged. “It’s something that I always dreamed of as a kid. Now it’s a dream come true. Not playing defense in high school…it was kind of hard coming here learning to play the position. I had to learn technique and hand work. But I love playing defense now.
“There seems to be more longevity with defensive end. You can play that position for a lot more years than tight end.”
The defensive end reluctantly agreed with the Sun Devil skipper, stating that his speed and athleticism have aided in his progress in a seldom played position for him.
“Coaches tell me that me that all the time, but it’s hard to believe,” Smith said humbly. “The NFL is about speed and you can’t coach speed. I got faster since I got here, but I also put on some weight. I weighed 224 when I got here and now I’m 255.”
When Smith in inserted into game action look for him to play in nickel situations and on the punt unit on special teams.