Miami Hurricanes LB Keontra Smith training camp standout

Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

Keontra Smith who moved to linebacker from striker after signing as a safety in 2019 has been the standout for the Miami Hurricanes during training camp. Naming a standout for each ACC team, Smith was the pick for Miami by Kevin Flaherty of 247 Sports. Smith provides Miami with needed speed and playmaking ability at LB.

Smith had 22 tackles, two tackles for loss and one pass breakup during the first significant playing of his Miami Hurricanes career playing striker in 2020. Smith is likely to start next to second-year Corey Flagg at LB in 2021. Flagg and Smith provide Miami with speed at LB but are both undersized at 5’11.

Smith had four tackles, a sack and a pass breakup in the first scrimmage of training camp and “a bunch of tackles” according to head coach Manny Diaz in the second scrimmage on Saturday. Smith has continually proven the ability to be a playmaker and make tackle throughout training camp.

After disastrous performances in high-profile losses to Clemson and North Carolina in 2020, the Miami defense needs to tighten up in 2021. The speed Flagg and Smith bring to the Miami defense should result in upgraded play at LB in 2021. Smith’s skill set is more suited for LB than they were at safety or striker.

"MIAMI — KEONTRA SMITH“The former ‘Striker,’ has moved to weak-side linebacker and has made the most of his opportunity there, making his speed play way up. Smith is undersized, but makes up for it with his athleticism and instincts.Miami coach Manny Diaz said he has been happy with the development of the defense in the offseason, and the linebacker play was a big part of the reason why, with Smith helping to drive that improvement. (Smith) could help the Hurricanes take a step forward on the defensive side of the ball.”"

The scouting report for Smith when he signed with Miami from Chaminade-Madonna in 2020 was “Excellent closing speed and a fearless hitter. Really thrives in run support and playing near the line of scrimmage. Coverage skills are a concern and not something he has been asked to do much throughout his high school career.’

dark. Next. Keontra Smith play maker Miami needs at LB

Entering his third season, Miami seems to have found the ideal position for Smith. Smith has three seasons of eligibility remaining including 2021. With Diaz taking over the defensive play-calling in 2021, Smith should be a key player for Miami. The speed Flagg and Smith provide should be critical in the opener against Alabama.