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Miami Hurricanes 50-1 Countdown: Ranking the top 50 post-spring players … No. 41 Keontra Smith

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Miami Hurricanes 50-1 Countdown: Ranking the top 50 post-spring players … No. 41 Keontra Smith

No. 50 Miami DT Thomas GoreNo. 49 Malik CurtisNo. 48 Kaleb SpencerNo. 47 Ahmad MotenNo. 46 Jaden HarrisNo. 45 Logan SagapoluNo. 44 Markeith WilliamsNo. 43 Frank LadsonNo. 42 Chris Graves

CaneSport is breaking down the top 50 post-spring players on the roster, a list that doesn’t include any post-spring roster additions. Today we break down No. 41, Keontra Smith.

NO. 41 MIAMI LB KEONTRA SMITH

Why he’s No. 41

Keontra Smith is a fifth-year veteran at a Miami linebacker position that’s struggled in recent seasons. Certainly Smith’s had his opportunities to this point, starting four games in 2021 and then last year starting three more games. He ended 2022 with 33 tackles, three for losses and an interception, and in 2021 he had 38 tackles and three sacks. His Pro Football Focus grades haven’t been great the last two years – 56.8 percent overall last year (50.1 run defense, 28.1 tackling with 14 missed tackles, 74.2 percent pass rush and 60.1 covering) and 46.8 percent in 2021 (43.8 run defense, 27.8 tackling with 14 more missed tackles, 69.8 pass rush and 49.6 covering). But Smith can be productive, and in his career he’s amassed 95 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He began as a safety at Miami before moving to linebacker early in his career, and he’s added 30 pounds since joining UM.

What he needs to do to move up this list

Smith has already pretty much shown what he can do and who he is, and it’s okay to be a solid depth guy at a position that doesn’t have a lot of proven talent. Wesley Bissainthe, Corey Flagg and Francisco Mauigoa flashed more than Smith in the spring, and it’s likely Smith will begin the year as a backup. But Smith can still be effective spelling guys for reps and providing good veteran leadership. He’s the only senior in a room that includes four true freshmen, so giving guidance will be one of his main jobs.

Realistic season objective

If there aren’t injuries to guys above him then we’d expect Smith to be a key role guy with the second unit. He played 290 reps last year, 332 in 2021 and 218 in 2020, and somewhere in that range is certainly possible given his experience and the lack of depth at the linebacker position. So Smith is an important piece at a position where you can’t just rely on starters to be able to go huge amounts of reps in games.

The post Miami Hurricanes 50-1 Countdown: Ranking the top 50 post-spring players … No. 41 Keontra Smith appeared first on On3.

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