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Jaylon Smith | Linebacker

Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Ht / Wt:  6'3' / 235

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Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith reminds NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah of Patrick Willis.
"Just in terms of sheer explosiveness," Jeremiah told Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman, citing Smith's obvious speed in the school's game against FSU. We have talked up Smith and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley on every possible occasion. Notre Dame has a very talented roster heading into the season. Jun 25 - 11:04 AM
Source: Fox Sports

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Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith "is a rangy, explosive linebacker with instincts in coverage, making him a valuable, versatile weapon for defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder," observes Sports on Earth's Matt Brown.

VanGorder runs an aggressive scheme, making Smith a tailor-made fit. Brown ranks him as the fifth-best LB in the land. "Smith didn't get enough credit for a standout sophomore season thanks to the chaos around him on a lackluster Notre Dame defense," Brown wrote. "That will change this year. Notre Dame is loaded with experienced talent, and Smith may be the best player on a playoff contender." The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Smith was a Bednarik Award Semifinalist in 2014. He led the Irish with 112 tackles and chipped in 9 TFL, 3.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble.
Jun 21 - 3:58 PM

NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah called Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith's game against Stanford "a teaching tape."

We remember the contest and the linebacker showed high level skill in every phase of linebacker play. Smith is obviously athletic and can chase ball carriers from sideline to sideline and has great closing speed when moving forward. Many linebackers, even the best ones, struggle when facing lead blockers against the run. Smith even shows quality skill here, which is high praise against a running attack like Stanford.
Jun 15 - 11:10 AM

Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith was named to the Phil Steele's preseason All-America first team.

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Smith was a Bednarik Award Semifinalist in 2014, racking up a team-high 112 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, three and a half sacks and one forced fumble, while earning AP Second Team All-American honors.
Jun 3 - 2:17 PM

Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith "moves extremely well laterally, gets off blocks and makes tough open-field tackles look routine," notes NFL Media.

"If healthy, there's no reason Smith can't be a first-team All-American this fall against an always-tough ND schedule that includes Texas, Georgia Tech, Clemson, USC and Stanford," wrote NFL.com's Chase Goodbread. As a sophomore, Smith posted a team-high 112 tackles, including a career-high 14 against USC and Stanford. NFL Media ranks Smith as the No. 6 defensive player in the land.
Source: NFL.com
May 20 - 12:30 AM

Notre Dame blitzed on 35.4 percent of their defensive snaps in 2014, according to PFF.

The figure is "well above the national average," per Steve Palazzolo. Notre Dame is also "very stunt-heavy up front" according to CFF's charting. The question is if the blizting was by choice or by necessity. Fans always love to hear that their team will be more aggressive with blitzes, but defensive coaches will almost unanimously say they would rather create consistent pressure with four up front. Notre Dame's edge rushers lacked talent and production last year.
May 18 - 11:22 AM

Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith debuted at No. 18 on Mel Kiper's first 2016 Big Board.

"An instant-impact talent in South Bend, Smith started all 13 games as a true freshman, then had a stellar sophomore campaign during which he picked up 112 tackles, including nine tackles for loss," Kiper wrote. "Smith can be moved around, has good length and can flat-out fly for a linebacker, with sub-4.5 speed. He'll be a household name with a healthy 2015." Rotoworld's Josh Norris slotted Smith to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 17 in a 2016 mock draft. At the next level, Smith could be either a 4-3 OLB or a 3-4 ILB.
May 16 - 11:18 PM

Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith has "that 'it' quality along with size, speed, athleticism and smarts," wrote Scout.com's Jamie Newberg.

Scout ranks Smith as the No. 8 prospect in the class. "He was an immediate plug and play guy in South Bend, evnetually playing the middle and weakside linebacker positions for the Fighting Irish," Newberg wrote. "Smith can pretty much do anything you ask, stuff the run, play inside-out and drop and make plays in covergae. This is an outstanding player and prospect from Notre Dame." Smith posted 112 tackles and nine tackles for a loss last year.
Source: Scout.com
May 16 - 10:02 PM

Rotoworld's Josh Norris allotted Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 17 in a 2016 mock draft.

"Smith and Burfict would be a nice combination," he wrote. ESPN's Todd McShay also thinks Smith heads into the year with the looks of a first-rounder. "Smith has flashed a lot of raw talent during his Notre Dame career, and has played both inside and outside linebacker in the Fighting Irish defense," he wrote. "He'd fit best as a weak inside linebacker in the Chiefs' 3-4 defense." McShay slotted Smith to the Chiefs at No. 24.
Source: Rotoworld
May 14 - 6:40 PM

Notre Dame sophomore LB Jaylon Smith "was solid in coverage and against the run" against Stanford on Saturday, writes Pro Football Focus' Gordon McGuinness.

"Though it wasn’t a perfect performance from Smith, you would have liked to have seen more than a sack from his 14 pass rushing attempts, he was solid in coverage and against the run," McGuinness wrote. "Finishing the game with all five of his solo tackles against the run resulting in a defensive stop, he had a Run Stop Percentage of 17.2%." Smith finished with a game score of +2.5. "His lone pressure came in the form of a sack, beating right tackle Kyle Murphy to the outside on 1st-and-10 with 1:07 left in the second quarter," added McGuinness. Smith is not yet draft-eligible. He reminds us of Ryan Shazier.
Mon, Oct 6, 2014 06:08:00 PM

Scouts Inc.'s Kevin Weidl believes Notre Dame sophomore LB Jaylon Smith is an emerging talent.

Weidl calls Smith a playmaker with athleticism, speed and range. The evaluator also praised Notre Dame's speed in the back seven, saying it is more than they have had in a long time. Smith is not draft-eligible, but he is a linebacker in the mold of Ryan Shazier.
Tue, Sep 9, 2014 10:09:00 AM

Notre Dame sophomore LB Jaylon Smith says he wants to be better than Manti Te'o.

"It's something I know I can handle," Smith says. "It's just a matter of waiting and seeing, you know what I mean?" Smith has already drawn praise from Todd McShay, who said the linebacker "kept flashing" when watching Stephon Tuitt. Smith stands at 6-foot-2, 235-pound and boasts 3.1 percent body fat.
Wed, Aug 13, 2014 11:19:00 AM

During a tape session that he intended to devote to Notre Dame DL Stephon Tuitt, Scout Inc.'s Todd McShay instead found that sophomore-to-be LB Jaylon Smith "keeps flashing."

"Just a pup and needs to fill out, but man he flies around and makes plays!" McShay gushed. Evaluators haven't quite made their way around to Smith yet, who must complete two more seasons before he's first eligible for the draft. That isn't an indictment of his potential. Smith (6-foot-3, 230 pounds), a former five-star recruit, has a very bright future in front of him. He'll be busy on Sundays.
Sun, Mar 9, 2014 10:30:00 PM