Wyoming junior quarterback Brett Smith announced on Friday that he will forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. Although he isn't a well-known NFL prospect, he is an underrated passer who has the talent to be drafted among the top-100 picks.
Smith, who is reminiscent of a more controlled version of Johnny Manziel, is a better athlete than given credit with deceiving mobility and very quick feet to be elusive in the pocket and avoid pressure. He has good-enough height and has worked hard to bulk up his frame, spending considerable time in the weight room. Smith scans the field quickly, works through his reads and does an excellent job recognizing soft spots in coverage pre-snap. He is a gutsy competitor who plays the game of football with a chip on his shoulder and he'll win over NFL coaches with his attitude, work ethic and overall football passion.
Smith is extremely confident, but almost to a fault as he tests small passing windows too often, throwing into tight coverage and hoping for a positive play. He has good enough arm strength for the next level, but lacks elite velocity especially when he can't step into his throws. Smith can get jumpy and skittish in the pocket and needs to get his footwork under control. He is a high-completion passer, but his accuracy will dip when throwing on the run.
If Smith played in the SEC or another major conference, he would be a much better known quarterback prospect. A native of Salem, Oregon, he re-wrote the high school record books and was the 2010 Gatorade Oregon Football Player of the Year, but didn't receive much attention from Pac 12 schools. His only FBS-level offers were San Jose State and Wyoming, choosing the Cowboys and starting from day one as a freshman.
Smith leaves Wyoming with several school records, finishing his career with 76 touchdown passes and 97 scores overall. He set new career-bests in 2013 with 3,375 passing yards, 62.7% completions (293-for-467) and 29 passing touchdowns. On Nov. 23, Smith set a new Mountain West and Wyoming single-game record against Hawai'i with 640 yards of total offense (498 passing, 142 rushing) and eight total touchdowns (7 passing, 1 rushing).
Although Smith played well this year, the 2013 season was a disappointment as Wyoming finished 5-7, losing five of the final six games. Smith's announcement comes just weeks after Craig Bohl was named the new head coach at Wyoming, taking over for Dave Christensen, who was fired Dec. 1 after five seasons in Laramie.