• • • Declared Underclassmen • • • 2015 Senior Bowl Preview • • • • • • NFL Games: • • • Baltimore 23 Pittsburgh 20 (00:00 IN OT) • • • NY Jets 27 Miami 14 (END OF 4TH) • • • Jacksonville 13 Indianapolis 16 (00:00 IN OT) • • • NY Giants 24 Buffalo 10 (00:00 IN 4TH) • • • Carolina 37 Tampa Bay 23 (END OF 4TH) • • • Philadelphia 20 Washington 23 (FINAL) • • • Oakland 20 Chicago 22 (00:00 IN 4TH) • • • Houston 21 Atlanta 48 (00:00 IN 4TH) • • • Kansas City 21 Cincinnati 36 (END OF 4TH) • • • Cleveland 27 San Diego 30 (FINAL) • • • Green Bay 17 San Francisco 3 (END OF 4TH) • • • St. Louis 24 Arizona 22 (END OF 4TH) • • • Minnesota 20 Denver 23 (FINAL) • • • Dallas 20 New Orleans 26 (END OF 1ST OT) • • • Detroit 10 Seattle 13 (FINAL) • • • • • • • • • NCAA Games: • • • SMU at Houston (THU, OCT 8 8:00 PM ET) • • • Washington at USC (THU, OCT 8 9:00 PM ET) • • • Southern Mississippi at Marshall (FRI, OCT 9 7:00 PM ET) • • • NC State at Virginia Tech (FRI, OCT 9 8:00 PM ET) • • • Maryland at Ohio State (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • Baylor at Kansas (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • LSU at South Carolina (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • Oklahoma at Texas (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • New Mexico State at Ole Miss (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • Illinois at Iowa (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • Duke at Army (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • UTEP at Florida Intl (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • Indiana at Penn State (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • Tulane at Temple (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • Central Michigan at Western Michigan (SAT, OCT 10 12:00 PM ET) • • • Virginia at Pittsburgh (SAT, OCT 10 12:30 PM ET) • • • Miami (OH) at Ohio (SAT, OCT 10 2:00 PM ET) • • • Massachusetts at Bowling Green (SAT, OCT 10 2:00 PM ET) • • • Rice at Florida Atlantic (SAT, OCT 10 2:30 PM ET) • • • Kent State at Toledo (SAT, OCT 10 3:00 PM ET) • • • Wake Forest at Boston College (SAT, OCT 10 3:00 PM ET) • • • Akron at Eastern Michigan (SAT, OCT 10 3:00 PM ET) • • • Georgia Tech at Clemson (SAT, OCT 10 3:30 PM ET) • • • Northwestern at Michigan (SAT, OCT 10 3:30 PM ET) • • • Navy at Notre Dame (SAT, OCT 10 3:30 PM ET) • • • Georgia at Tennessee (SAT, OCT 10 3:30 PM ET) • • • Appalachian State at Georgia State (SAT, OCT 10 3:30 PM ET) • • • Ball State at Northern Illinois (SAT, OCT 10 3:30 PM ET) • • • Syracuse at South Florida (SAT, OCT 10 3:30 PM ET) • • • Wisconsin at Nebraska (SAT, OCT 10 3:30 PM ET) • • • Minnesota at Purdue (SAT, OCT 10 3:30 PM ET) • • • Iowa State at Texas Tech (SAT, OCT 10 3:30 PM ET) • • • Connecticut at UCF (SAT, OCT 10 3:45 PM ET) • • • Oregon State at Arizona (SAT, OCT 10 4:00 PM ET) • • • Troy at Mississippi State (SAT, OCT 10 4:00 PM ET) • • • Portland State at North Texas (SAT, OCT 10 5:00 PM ET) • • • Washington State at Oregon (SAT, OCT 10 6:00 PM ET) • • • Louisiana Monroe at Tulsa (SAT, OCT 10 6:00 PM ET) • • • Arkansas at Alabama (SAT, OCT 10 7:00 PM ET) • • • Oklahoma State at West Virginia (SAT, OCT 10 7:00 PM ET) • • • Boise State at Colorado State (SAT, OCT 10 7:00 PM ET) • • • Texas State at Louisiana Lafayette (SAT, OCT 10 7:00 PM ET) • • • New Mexico at Nevada (SAT, OCT 10 7:00 PM ET) • • • Louisiana Tech at Texas San Antonio (SAT, OCT 10 7:00 PM ET) • • • TCU at Kansas State (SAT, OCT 10 7:30 PM ET) • • • Florida at Missouri (SAT, OCT 10 7:30 PM ET) • • • East Carolina at BYU (SAT, OCT 10 7:30 PM ET) • • • Michigan State at Rutgers (SAT, OCT 10 8:00 PM ET) • • • Miami (FL) at Florida State (SAT, OCT 10 8:00 PM ET) • • • San Jos? State at UNLV (SAT, OCT 10 9:00 PM ET) • • • California at Utah (SAT, OCT 10 10:00 PM ET) • • • Colorado at Arizona State (SAT, OCT 10 10:00 PM ET) • • • Wyoming at Air Force (SAT, OCT 10 10:15 PM ET) • • • Utah State at Fresno State (SAT, OCT 10 10:30 PM ET) • • • San Diego State at Hawaii (SAT, OCT 10 11:59 PM ET) • • • • • •

2011 NFL Draft Spotlight: TE Lee Smith, Marshall

By Chris Maier on 02-23-2011

Share on Facebook Delicious Bookmark on Delicious

NFL Draft 101 recently had an opportunity to talk with one of the 2011 NFL Draft's top tight ends, Lee Smith out of Marshall.  Smith was a two and half year starter with the Thundering Herd who earned All-Conference USA and Academic Conference USA honors for the 2010 season.  Known for his talents as a blocker, Smith also accounted for 38 catches for 358 yards and 3 touchdowns this past season. 


College Career

Smith's career got off to a rocky start when he was dismissed from the University of Tennessee football team due to a DUI charge prior to his freshman season.   Looking for a fresh start he transferred to Marshall.  When asked how he overcame this early challenge, Smith stated "I learned the hard way there are consequences for every action whether it be positive or negative and a lot of kids have a Superman mentality at that point in their life and it kind of smacked me in the face but ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me.  I got married my freshman year in college and we had my son the next year and I was just forced to grow up.  I had a family to raise, a family to feed, a family to take care of.  I wasn't able to just join together with three or four of my teammates and rent an apartment somewhere in Huntington. It was great for me and it was a lot of pressure and I'm not sure I would suggest it to anyone else but for me myself it was great and it allowed me to grow up I liked I needed to."

When asked how he balanced the demands of being a husband, father, athlete and student (named C-USA All-Academic Team in 2010), he responded, "It was great for me.  I would tell everyone if my son tries to do the same thing I did I would try to advise him otherwise.  For me personally, my wife is great, she's the best.  She makes sure everything was taken care of as far as the kids were concerned, as far as the house was concerned.  I just made sure that I became the best football player I could be but number one what's most important to me is being the best father, being the best husband and I took my schoolwork very seriously.  I know that football doesn't last forever and I am going to have to something once football is over so school was very important and I just tried to take football and school as seriously as I could and to be honest with you it was my wife who made the rest very easy on me."  He also noted, he "received two degrees from Marshall."


While discussing his game, he considered his greatest strength being "the Y-tight end. A lot of NFL teams throw an extra tackle in the game during running situations....I feel like if you have a tight end that can get in there and compete in the running game against a 280 pound defensive end in the NFL this day and age that does nothing but help your football team."  On the flipside, the one aspect of his game he needs to further refine is "the pass game.  I'm obviously not a 240 pound H-back but at the same time I am excited about getting the coaching I'm going to receive in the next few months in the NFL.  I'm not the biggest, strongest guy anymore, this isn't college football, everyone is big, strong and fast so just take the coaching in the pass game and keep getting better."

Switching gears, we talked about teammate Mario Harvey (linebacker) who is also going through the draft process. Smith described him as  "a very special player.  He's the most explosive guy that I've played against to this point.  He can flat out run, he's a good kid, leader. I think regardless of what happens in this draft that Mario is definitely talented enough to play in the NFL."

Wrapping up our discussion on his college career, I asked him to recall his favorite football moment to which he responded, "I have a three year old little boy and for my Senior Game at Marshall, he ran out of the tunnel with me, just me and him alone"


Senior Bowl

After establishing himself as one of the best blocking tight ends in the college game, Smith was invited to play in the 2010 Senior Bowl and experience Smith described as an "opportunity to be coached by an NFL coaching staff, just to get that experience and be coached by guys who can let you know exactly what to expect in the next few months".  During the course of the week, Smith showcased his blocking prowess while demonstrating soft hands as an intermediate passing option. Realizing he is not a threat down the seam and his future is as in-line blocking tight end he noted coaches told him he's a "Y-tight end, the bigger tight end in this draft class" and  "to just to keep getting after people in the run game and the blocking game. Take coaching and just work hard." 

His frame (Senior Bowl measurements 6 '5 7/8", 269 lbs) and footwork as a blocker had some in Mobile questioning whether a move to tackle was a possibility.  When given the opportunity to respond to a position change, he stated, "I've heard it my whole life, my father (a former NFL offensive lineman) made that move.  It's always a question that comes up, I'm 270 pounds, 25-30 pounds away from that tackle mark I guess you could say, but it seemed like most of the comments were tight end based as far as the Senior Bowl was concerned.  Most of the coaches I talked to pretty much liked me at tight end but personally whatever it takes to compete and contribute in the National Football League.  Whatever it takes for me to be able to play for as long as I possibly can in the league is what I will do.  If I need to move to tackle I'll move to tackle.  If I stay at tight end I'll stay at tight end."  


Combine Preparations:

As for Combine and Draft preparations Lee is training at IMG Academy in Sarasota, Florida.  "There are about 20 of us down here.  We get after it all day every day.  As far as the work it has definitely been put in.  As far as my goals at the Combine, I feel like I just want to prove that I can move and be successful in the pass game.  My hands are there and that I am not just a blocking tight end."


We wish Lee the best of luck at the Combine and on Draft Day.

Recorded Interview:

Chris Maier is Senior Editor for NFLDraft101.com. He can be contacted at cmaier@nfldraft101.com. Follow Chris on twitter: nfldraft101



Share on Facebook Delicious Bookmark on Delicious


Add Comment
Live Interactive Draft Coverage Pick Analysis

Week 17 Fantasy Studs

QBGeno SmithNYJ26.12
RBC.J. AndersonDEN28.70
WREric DeckerNYJ28.10
TECoby FleenerIND17.60
KConnor BarthDEN18.00
DEFCarolina PanthersCAR31.00
Weekly Fantasy Rankings

Brought to you by:
Daily Fantasy Sports Games at FanDuel.com

Want to ask a football question to Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, Chris Collinsworth and Howie Long? You might even win a once in a lifetime trip. Just click here! http://www.thebiglead.com/asktheexperts.shtml

Save Up to 30% on Top Exercise Equipment from AFGFitness.com!

Fare Buzz

Wenger Swiss Military Watches - 50% Off