When you look for a running back coming out of high school there are a certain things a recruiter will look for. There’s speed, they’ll possibly look at his 40-time, his strength, how he carries the football, can he protect it or is he a “one armed man,” does he favor running to the outside or is he not afraid to run through the tackles, and can he catch the ball out of the backfield among many other factors. For Keller Central running back KT Smeby, it doesn’t take long to answer a lot of those questions. What you see on a film is physical, no fear, and a stiff arm that’s as deadly as the ‘Stunner’ from Stone Cold Steve Austin. One of the first things I notice, that becomes more and more prevalent in his film, is his ability to make defenders miss and I’m not just talking about one here or there. In play after play, Smeby breaks three to four to five tackles and never looks like he’s going to go down. It’s not like he loses his footing because there’s never a moment it looks like he’s trying to regain his balance. This is a tough running back and one that will gain a ton of interest as we head towards National Signing Day.
A few weeks ago, I had done a recruiting piece on Smeby’s “battery mate,” Keller Central quarterback Jake McClurg, and I had mentioned McClurg’s ability to be a dual threat quarterback. Now that I’ve been able to watch Smeby’s film, I realize just how dangerous Keller Central’s offense was with two different guys who could beat you with their legs and one who could beat you with both his arm and his legs. It’s tough for any defense to game plan for two guys like that because you never know what’s coming next. Is it a deep ball from McClurg, will he wait for the defense to make their move before taking off with the football, or will the defense have to sustain that stiff arm from Smeby as he heads through the tackles? Both of these guys will be hard to replace for the Chargers heading into the 2015 season.
Season stats: 159 carries, 888 rushing yards (5.58 yards per carry), 13 TD’s
College football teams, regardless of the division they’re in, are always looking for a solid running back but what most lack, and what I miss as part of the game, is a big fullback who can lead the way or who can get you a few yards in short yardage situations. But that’s not all this young man is limited to, he finds another gear in the open field and has that aforementioned stiff arm that is among the best I’ve seen at the high school level. Since the fullback position is almost a thing of the past, Smeby will be a solid running back for anyone who lands him as a recruit. Could make a big time impact by the time his college days are through.
Scouting report: A lot of power up the middle, strong, physical running back. While he might be slow going from the snap his decision making through the tackles and ability to see the open field allow him to find another gear and run away from defenders. Does a nice job picking up blocks and does a nice job seeing a blitz and getting in front of it. One of those guys any running back would love to have leading the way. Incredibly tough for defenders to bring down, especially in short yardage situations and one of the best stiff arms you’ll see from a high school running back. Downhill runner, keeps his legs moving even after the initial hit, can make the catch out of the backfield with nice hands and does a good job protecting the football. Don’t try to leg tackle him, it doesn’t work.
Smeby doesn’t seem to have any offers at the moment but the interest in him is starting to grow. Expect that to continue especially after the holidays end and coaching staffs everywhere kick their recruiting efforts into high gear. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him get an offer between the end of December and the first few weeks of January. There are plenty of schools interested, just has to find the right one looking for what he brings.