Gopher football has had 5 defensive backs drafted over the last 6 drafts and Terell Smith looks like he’ll make it 6 of the last 7.
A long career for Smith for the Gophers that started out very promising and ended with an outstanding senior season. In between, Smith struggled with consistency and earning playtime.
In the era of the transfer portal and players quickly leaving when playing time isn’t earned, tremendous credit should be given to Smith for staying in Minnesota and putting himself in a position to be drafted.
As a true freshman, Smith started 9 games at corner in 2018 and was named the team’s Outstanding Defensive Freshman. He had 8 pass breakups and 1 interception to go with his 43 tackles.
Then over the next three seasons there were struggles and flashes. Smith did not start any games in 2019 or 2020, he started the first 7 games of 2021 before he saw his time reduced and then was injured. Those three seasons combined Smith had 28 tackles, 3 pass breakups and 1 interception while seeing action in 24 games.
Then it all came back together as a 5th-year senior. He started all 13 games, had 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 5 breakups and 2 picks. He was absolutely a leader on the field for the 2022 Gopher defense. The Big Ten Media awarded him Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2022.
Ht: 6’ 1/2”
40 yd dash: 4.41 (9th among CBs)
What Smith brings and what I have always loved about his game is that he brings excellent height along with elite speed. You may recall that Smith participated in the Georgia state track meet in both the 100M and the 200M.
NFL.com scouting report.
“Ascending cornerback with an outstanding combination of size, speed and toughness. Smith’s technique and game film improved from 2021 to 2022. He stays low and patient in his backpedal. He has above-average footwork for a cornerback his size, which allows him to mirror the release and stay connected to the deep route. He’s experienced in playing all forms of coverage, but he’s best from press and off-man. Smith is a reliable tackler with a playing disposition that matches expectations for NFL run support. The on-ball production is a little light, but the traits and talent are in place for a starting role at outside cornerback in the future or a transition to safety.”
He will benefit from NFL coaching as he learns how to cover better receivers at this level. The size and speed combination is going to be more than enough to get him drafted, he will have to continue to grow in coverage and recognition.
Being a physical corner who can also run deep with speedy receivers is going to make Smith very appealing. His tackling ability and willingness to be involved in stopping the run should make him versatile enough to at least earn time on special teams.
It appears that Smith is most likely going to go somewhere around the 4th or 5th round of the draft.