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The Cardinal Countdown: 43 Days Until Kickoff

AutoZone Liberty Bowl Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

#43 Damien Smith

Class: RS Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-1/225

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Louisville, KY (Product of Manual High School)

Twitter: @_djsmith

Thoughts: Damien started out at UofL as a local kid who walked-on, grabbed time on the practice squad, and slowly but surely worked his way onto the field over the last 3 seasons. After getting a decent amount of PT back in 2016 Damien upped the ante and played in eleven games last year, mostly appearing in a traditional middle linebacker spot. I actually remember watching the Syracuse beat down and hearing his name called a few times in the 4th quarter on some run stops. Damien made his presence known and snagged 4 tackles that night alone, in limited time.

The Cards have strength at linebacker but could certainly use some depth. I know some folks are looking at the younger guys to pick up the slack but I like to see players like Damien fill in the void when it makes sense. Just think, Smith has been in the program for over three years now, and although the coordinators have been shuffled more than a deck of cards the defensive principles have been pretty consistent during that time, and Damien has shown he can crack the rotation and perform when asked. I know the “new and shiny” freshman get more excitement typically (for myself as well) but let’s not forget some of the upperclassman who have grinded their way to an opportunity over time. I’m 100% on board with letting the better man play no matter who that may be but sometimes experience is difficult to replicate on the practice field.

I’d assume we see Damien out there at some point every single week this year, capitalizing on the opportunities he had in 2017 and trying to expand his role in 2018.

Sweet Tweet:

This is repeat advice, but since we get new faces checking out the Countdown daily here we go again….

DON’T SCHEDULE FRIDAY CLASSES…, at all. If unavoidable stay away from anything before 11:00am or after 4:00pm.

Thank me later.