There are no slam dunks in recruiting. Sometimes the biggest “gets” flame out before they ever play a down and sometimes the guys that drop in to your lap end up a first round draft pick (looking at you, LVE). You also can’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched in recruiting...or at least until they’ve signed a document pledging they’ll stay in the coop. The early signing day this year (December 20) brought 20 new Broncos into the fold, but the prep QB that we’d thought would be among them, flew said coop the week of the Vegas Bowl. The Broncos were scrambling.
As the staff had had a prep QB committed since summer, most of the “backup” options had slid off the table, so the great scouring began. AZ standout Brock Purdy was the first to draw the gaze of the Broncos and the lightly-recruited signal-caller looked like he might be ripe for the picking...but the early signing day had another effect, it made hot commodities out of some of the uncommitted players and on the heels of Purdy’s visit, he started to get the blue chip treatment, adding offers from Alabama, Iowa State, and Illinois (not to mention visits from Texas A&M and more). The Broncos couldn’t wait around for Purdy, so they kept scouring. Eventually, the spotted a heavily-recruited QB prospect out of Bartram Trail High School in St. Johns, FL. Riley Smith, a 6’5” 215 lb. (measurables!) pro-style QB, held over 30 offers...they just were largely middle of the road G5s and Ivy League offers. Football-wise, the Broncos looked like a pretty good option.
So Smith visited the weekend after Purdy (I think the coaches were trying to give Brock time to mull things over) and apparently loved his time in the City of Trees. Yesterday, the Bronco staff decided the Purdy sweepstakes was getting too crowded and Harsin, Kiesau, and Zak Hill all flew to the Sunshine State and gave Smith the hard sell. Last night, Smith pulled the proverbial trigger and he’s your 2018 QB commit (if we can hold him until February 7th).
Smith is a bit more “raw” than Purdy, but has all the tools to be a great addition to the squad. He’s big and powerful and has a pretty live arm. I mean, the kid did this earlier this year:
He’s the 21st commit of the 2018 class (those numbers are firm...20 of them have already signed letters-of-intent) and will join JuCo transfer Jaylon Henderson in the quarterbacks room (along with some scrubs named Rypien and Cord, or “Ryp-Cord” as you should probably refer to them). Smith also threw 18 TDs and just 7 INTs last season in Bartram Trails two QB system. He also rushed for 633 yards and another 8 TDs. For the sake of transparency, here are the schools that had offered Smith a spot (disregard all similarities to a laundry list): Rice, Pitt, Georgia State, WKU, Yale, Akron, Bowling Green, Brown, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Citadel, Coastal Carolina, Colorado State, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Davidson, East Tennessee State, FAU, Harvard, Liberty, Mercer, Princeton, Samford, South Alabama, Troy, Tulane, UAB, and Valdosta State. Dang.
Welcome aboard, kid. And hang in there!