September 29, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith (12) drops back to pass in the second half in the game against the Baylor Bears at Milan Puskar Stadium. West Virginia defeated Baylor 70-63. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE
Heading into the 2012 season, many believed the spot as the top prospect was all but gift-wrapped to USC QB Matt Barkley. However, few people expected West Virginia QB Geno Smith to play at the level he has this year.
Like most hyped-up Senior QB’s liked Barkley, there has been a lot of new scrutiny. Barkley’s tough losses (times four) to Stanford have brought up questions about his ability to show up in big games against NFL-style defenses. Barkley has always had questions about his size, as he will likely measure in right around 6’1″, and his arm strength doesn’t jump off of the tape.
I still believe that Barkley is top 10 pick material. He is an accurate passer that throws touch passes and can put zip on intermediate passes. He keeps his feet moving in the pocket but he does throw off his back foot on deep throws, leading to floating passes. His intelligence, technique, and leadership make him a top QB prospect in my eyes. But he no longer sits alone at the top this year.
Smith was my #3 QB heading into the season behind Barkley and Logan Thomas. Thomas is out of the equation, he has taken a step back and really needs to come back for his senior year. Smith had the tools, the size, and the athleticism to be looked at as a first round QB. The system he plays in makes me nervous, but like we are seeing with RG III, intelligence and physical ability can compensate for a lack of experience in a pro-style offense.
Smith will probably measure in at around 6’3″ and 215 pounds and run the 40 below 4.7. Smith is averaging 432 yards passing, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions through the first four games of the season. College statistics have virtually no correlation to NFL success, but they show what level Smith is capable of playing at.
Smith has shown excellent accuracy in his throws. He has a lightning quick release and has improved his already solid footwork. He rarely is seen throwing off-balance like Barkley. He makes quick decisions but can extend the plays with his feet if needed.
I am a believer in Barkley as a great QB prospect, but Geno Smith has blown by him this season with his stellar performances.