With all the talk about Kansas University’s football safeties focused on projected starters Bradley McDougald and Keeston Terry, it can be easy to overlook Lubbock Smith.
Not a good idea.
While McDougald and Terry have a bit more raw talent and the ideal size to play the position, Smith has the edge in experience.
During his three seasons at KU, the junior from Dallas — he red-shirted in 2008 — has made 15 starts and played in 22 games. As a red-shirt freshman, Smith started games 6 through 11 before an injury kept him out of the season finale. Last year, Smith started the first nine games of the season before another injury put him on the shelf for the season’s final three games.
With those injuries behind him and a ton of talent in front of him, coaches have said Smith has worked harder than ever this offseason, something that, when you think about it, really gives KU more than just two standouts at safety.
“If we had to play today, (Terry) and McDougald would be the starting guys,” KU coach Turner Gill said earlier this month. “But Lubbock Smith has really come on strong.”
At 6-foot, 206 pounds, Smith’s rock-solid frame seems to the provide the perfect complement to the speed and explosiveness of McDougald and Terry. While those two — 6-2 and 6-1, respectively — bring different strengths to the field, Smith does a little bit of everything.
During his short stint on the filed in 2010, Terry, a sophomore from Blue Springs, Mo., showed he was not afraid to hit people. He’s active around the ball and lists tackling as his biggest strength. McDougald, a former wide receiver, fancies himself a playmaker, the kind of guy who likes to hang back and go after the ball when it’s in the air.
The bottom line, at least for now, seems to be this: For power and hard hits, Terry’s the guy; McDougald is the man for smooth skills and a little flash; Smith is some combination of the two.
That’s the way it broke down in the final installment of the Journal-World and KUSports.com’s summer position series.
Here’s a look:
Matt Tait’s list
Tom Keegan’s list
Jesse Newell’s list
Journal-World consensus top 5 safeties