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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Lions spotlight: Anthony Smith

By Josh Moyer

Every weekday until signing day, NittanyNation will break down a commitment from Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Cornerback Anthony Smith, Randolph, N.J./Valley Forge Military, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds

Committed: Dec. 9, 2012

ESPN.com grade: 67; Two-star prospect

Picked Penn State over: Rhode Island and Gardner-Webb

State of the position: Penn State really needs to add depth here, so Smith was a needed pick-up because he could enroll early. Adrian Amos will be the top CB here, with Da'Quan Davis as the likely No. 2. It gets a little fuzzy after that pair. Rising redshirt freshman Jake Kiley and rising sophomore Jordan Lucas (listed as a safety but could still play cornerback) could compete for the backup or nickelback spot.

Pros: "Shows good discipline and will make a quick diagnosis in the run game. Displays good ball judgment to play ball in the air. ...  Flashes the ability to shuffle feet in press coverage to maintain position and disrupt receivers release. ... Overall, Smith's athletic ability will be an asset to him in developing his technique on the defensive side of the ball." -- ESPN scouting report

Cons: "Will need to add overall strength to his frame. ... We would like to see him be more aggressive to climb the ladder and high point the football at times. ... Shows some tightness in hips, hindering his ability to bend and change direction with ease. Displays good speed once pointed in the right direction but lacks a burst to close separation consistently." -- ESPN scouting report

Similar to/potential role: He needs a redshirt year to gain some polish, but he'll be an invaluable asset to the scout team this season. He became a dual-threat quarterback at Valley Forge and he'll likely take over Eugene Lewis' role pretending to be the opposing QB in practice -- at least when PSU faces a speedy signal-caller.

Expected impact: 2016. Sure, PSU needed to add some depth -- but Smith is behind at least three other cornerbacks right now. He'll be given every opportunity for playing time as a result, but he needs to really develop to contribute solidly to this team. Unless he improves quickly, it could be a few years before he's in position to see considerable playing time.