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The Final Cockdown: #24, D.J. Smith

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The hard-hitting, blue-chip defensive back is next up as we count down your 2015 Gamecocks.

D.J. Smith

Sophomore / Defensive Back

5'11" / 195 lbs.

Marietta, Ga. (Walton)

Recruitment

200th ranked player overall in the 2014 signing class, rated as a four-star prospect across the board.

Offers from Clemson, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and many more.

College Career

Played in twelve games in his true freshman year, after missing the season-opener following wisdom teeth surgery. Made his first start versus Kentucky, where he was ejected after a (crappy) targeting penalty was upheld (see below). Finished the season with 11 tackles and one pass breakup. Saw time at a variety of positions in the secondary, mostly cornerback and safety.

2015 Outlook

D.J. Smith is a very important piece of the defensive secondary this year. He played in a mop-up role for a good part of last year, and while his on-field production was very serviceable, he had no real position identity within the modified 4-2-5 packages Lorenzo Ward put on the field.

This year, under John Hoke's system, it appears that D.J. Smith is solidly in the free safety position, and in the starting role. His ability to cover the pass and aggressively pursue the run will be paramount if the Gamecocks are to regain their status as an elite SEC defense in 2015. It could be said that Smith has the most upside potential at the safety slot this year, and we're hoping that this is a correct opinion.

Trivia

D.J. Smith hails from Walton High School, in Marietta, Georgia. Can you name another member of the Gamecocks staff that also graduated from Walton?

Potpurri

If you missed it, DJ Smith's recruiting and signing day process was very entertaining, including a televised signing ceremony that our own Connor Tapp covered. We had a lot of fun with it.