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The Cardinal Countdown: 81 Days Until Kickoff

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Louisville v Purdue Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#81 Braden Smith

Class: Sophomore

Ht/Wt: 5-10/192

Position: Wide Receiver

Hometown: Flowood, MS

Twitter: @braden_smith11

Thoughts: Around this time last year Braden Smith was a name lots of folks were excited about. A special spring where he turned some heads set him up to get some solid reps in 2020 and my man came out of the gate hot. Check out the recap of the opening game from last year (WKU) where Braden introduced himself with 110 yards receiving (I had successfully burned those punts from my memory banks...and now they’re back).

Smith was looking like an absolute stud in Week 1 but the targets and production seemed to tail off as the weeks went by. Smith, after the first game, went six straight weeks with only 2 catches or less, and somehow finished the 2020 season without ever stepping foot in the endzone. Yes, the Cards had other weapons being utilized as they put up nearly 30pt/g but I would have lost my house, my car, and probably my wife if you told me that he wasn’t going to score the whole year while staying healthy. So what can we look for in 2021? Well, the NFL talent in the wideout room has opened some space for a few guys to step up and slide into those scoring roles this year. I think Braden is your starter in the slot heading into the fall, and if we know one thing it’s that the Satterfield offense loves the slot (I’ll eagerly await your comments below).

While Smith may not have “Tutu speed” he has some jets for sure and I can see him being utilized in some of the gadget plays and sweeps on top of just finding gaps in the zone across the middle and burning holes in the turf up the hash. Considering that I thought he was a little underutilized last year (27rec/370yd) I think he’s in the running to take one of the biggest leaps out of that group (I’d take another 110yards in the season opener this year as well if he’s down). One thing is for sure, I have no doubt he will get in the endzone this year. I’d bet my house, car…..I’m pretty confident.

Sweet Tweet:

Oh, you mean Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch?!? Yeah, he good.