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Monday, February 4, 2013
Lions spotlight: CB Jordan Smith

By Josh Moyer

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

Vitals: Cornerback Jordan Smith, Washington, D.C./Howard D. Woodson, 5-foot-11, 180 pounds.

Committed: Aug. 11, 2012.

ESPN.com grade: 77. Three-star prospect.

ESPN.com rankings: No. 60 at position, No. 100 in region, No. 4 in state.

Picked Penn State over: Colorado and Kansas.

State of the position: Penn State is in major need of some depth here. Adrian Amos is a high-quality starter, but even the No. 2 corner is a bit up in the air. Rising sophomore Da'Quan Davis is next in line, but Jake Kiley and Jordan Lucas (listed as safety but could still play CB) could put up a fight. There are a lot of question marks after Amos.

Pros: "This guy is a tough customer, not just a hitter, rather one who is capable of wrapping up and punishing ball carriers; doesn't allow leaky yardage after contact. ... Primarily playing press coverage, this player has the ability to walk up and disrupt the release with his quick hands; shows the ability to turn and run with receivers off the line; his foot quickness and flexibility allow him to turn in tight spots and mirror receivers without allowing separation. Does a very good job of playing the man and locating the ball in a blind spot." -- ESPN scouting report

Cons: "Smith does not appear to be an immediate starter at the BCS level of play. However his coverage skills and toughness could earn him early playing time if a red shirt year is not deemed necessary." -- ESPN scouting report

Similar to/potential role: Smith boasts a rare work ethic -- sometimes spending entire restless nights doing a thousand-or-so pushups -- and he'll be given every opportunity to play this season. Smith could immediately be a nickelback or, at the very least, a solid special-teams contributor. A redshirt is far from a lock here.

Expected impact: 2014. Smith is too good not to contribute early. He'll see solid playing time in 2015 after Amos graduates, but he could battle for the No. 2 corner spot early. It would be a surprise if defensive coordinator John Butler didn't utilize his press-coverage or run-stuffing ability in at least a few packages next year.