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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 notes that he models his game after Patrick Willis, Von Miller, Derrick Thomas, and Lawrence Taylor.
"I really look up to Patrick Willis, to Von Miller, Derrick Thomas, Lawrence Taylor -- those freaks that can rush off the edge," Smith told FOX Sports. "I watch those guys every day and model my game after them." Last season, the 6-foot-3, 241-pound Smith lead the team in total tackles (112) and posted nine tackles for loss. Smith earned Notre Dame Defensive Player of the Year honors and was a finalist for the Butkus Award after a monster season. The Notre Dame prospect is the first Irish sophomore to record 100 tackles in a season since Manti Te'o, when he recorded 133 tackles in 2010. Aug 20 - 3:04 PM
Source: FOX Sports

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Analyzing Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith, NFL Media draft analyst Chad Reuter notes that "few linebackers in recent memory with the tackling ability, quickness to the ball, and natural instincts that Smith possesses."

"Smith has a chance to be the second player to win the high school and college Butkus Awards (top linebacker); fellow Golden Domer Manti Te'o was the first," Reuter wrote. The analyst ranks Smith as the No. 4 junior draft prospect. NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah compares the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder to Patrick Willis.
Aug 16 - 11:18 PM

Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith is "one of the most complete defensive players in the nation," writes Sports on Earth's Matt Brown.

"An explosive, instinctive athlete, Smith is a playmaker in all facets of the game, defending the run, making plays in the backfield and dropping into coverage," Brown wrote. The analyst grades Smith as the No. 19 player in the country. NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah compares the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder to Patrick Willis.
Aug 9 - 11:35 PM Draft analyst Chad Reuter believes Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith is a early favorite for All-American honors at the linebacker position.

"Smith has already won the Butkus Award as the nation's top high school linebacker -- now he's looking to win the Butkus Award that goes to the top collegiate linebacker. While he doesn't have exceptional size (6-foot-2, 235 pounds), Smith is an excellent tackler. Few can match his quickness to the ball and he has great natural instincts," Reuter wrote. The Notre Dame prospect has made an immediate impact since arriving in South Bend, as Smith has been a starter since his freshman season. Last season, Smith earned Notre Dame Defensive Player of the Year honors and was a finalist for the Butkus Award. Smith lead the Irish in total tackles (112) and recorded nine tackles for loss.
Jul 21 - 2:08 PM

Notre Dame junior LB Jaylon Smith "has absolutely blazing closing speed and can chase and corral his running backs from almost any spot on the field," notes NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein.

"The decision between Myles Jack and Smith was a very difficult one," Zierlein wrote in ranking Smith as the No. 2 linebacking prospect entering the fall. "He's in the same league as Jack from an explosiveness standpoint and can unlatch from blocks to pounce on runners like a puma," he wrote. "Smith looks like a better version of 2015 first-round pick Shaq Thompson on tape and Smith plays way stronger at the point of attack than I expected." The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Smith reminds NFL Media colleague Daniel Jeremiah of Patrick Willis.
Jul 19 - 9:45 PM

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.
Source: Fox Sports
Jun 25 - 11:04 AM

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'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.
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'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.
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