We are a day away from college football, and a little under two weeks from a real NFL game! “YOU ARE FREAKING OUT… MAN!”
Every Friday during the glorious time that is football season I will bring you… FOOTBALL FRIDAY! It could be a preview of a game, it could be a spotlight of a player, a rant about a team, or hell even a recipe for your tailgate! Who cares? It will be about football.. And we all LOVE FOOTBALL!
So sit back in your favorite football chair, relax and enjoy the magic that is… FOOTBALL FRIDAY!
This week will be a spotlight of one of my favorite players. He was a dominant college player (at my favorite school) was projected to be a top pick, but had a devastating injury in his last college game. But, then was selected in the second round (by my favorite NFL team.)
I am talking about the one and only Jaylon Smith!
Jaylon is one of my favorite college football players of all time. He was an absolute beast at ND. Fast, physical, smart and motivating! He put the fear of god into opposing offenses.
He was “Mr. Do it all” he could rush the passer and take the QB down for a 10 yard sack. He would drop and cover RB’s all day long. You want to try and run it up the gut? GOOD LUCK because you’re about to get clocked by good ole Jaylon.
In three seasons at Notre Dame, the linebacker had 284 total tackles, 168 of them being solo tackles. He has 23.5 tackles for loss, including 4.5 sacks. Add in one interception, three forced fumbles and three fumble recovery’s and you have yourself a football player.
Jaylon is on a short list of players to win the Butkus Award twice, once in high school and once in college, extremely impressive. He also was a two time All-Independent (2014, 2015) a Second Team All-American in 2014 and a Consensus All-American in 2015. The Independent Defensive Player is the Year in 2014 and won two bowl games at ND.
After all those tackles, all those games and all those awards, Jaylon was one game away from being a top 5 NFL Draft pick. Until a devastating knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl. He tore his ACL, MCL and had significant nerve damage. He had “drop foot” and some said he may never play the game again.
As a fan of his I was devastated. I wanted to see him thrive in the NFL like he did in South Bend. First round went by with out his name being called.
THE CHANCE! They drafted him 34th overall and I lost my mind. It was one of the most emotional moments for me as a football fan. And, the best part.. He was reunited with his brother Rod Smith in Dallas!
He did not play in his “rookie season” but went through non-stop rehab.
Finally.. After over a year and a half of rehab he was cleared for the 2017 season. With LB injuries for the Cowboys he was thrown into the deep end of the pool. He played in 16 games, had 81 tackles, 50 solo and 1 sack. He looked like a rookie at times but flashed ND brilliance at others.
After a very good “rookie campaign” Jaylon kept working, getting stronger, getting faster and becoming the top 5 NFL talent everyone knew he was. Jaylon used his slogan “Clear Eye View” to help guide him through rehab and continues to live by it to get better everyday!
Jaylon has been turning heads during training camp. He looks like “Notre Dame” Jaylon again, just bigger, stronger and faster. That.. That is a scary thing for anyone playing the Cowboys defense.
— Jaylon Smith (@thejaylonsmith) August 17, 2018
He also hasn’t been shy about his goals for this season..
I am extremely excited for the opportunity Jaylon Smith now has. And, I am even more happy it is with a star on his helmet. After all his hard work, dedication and “Clear Eye View” he deserves a big year and great career!
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 12, 2018
Go get it 54. The SWIPE IS BACK!
-Kevin “That ND & Cowboys Fan Guy”