The struggles that Arizona State's wide receivers had in 2012 have been well documented. It was therefore no surprise that Todd Graham and staff went out and signed five players in the 2013 recruiting class to help bolster the position.
One of those five is Cameron Smith from Coppell High School in Texas. The 6-foot, 185-pound Smith brings blazing speed and sure hands to a Sun Devil team in dire need of help in the downfield passing game.
"Cameron has tremendous character and is another Barrett college caliber student athlete," Graham said. "He's a big time deep threat, a guy who can stress the field vertically, a guy who is a dynamic wide receiver, so we're excited about Cameron."
Through the first two days of ASU's fall practices, Smith has excelled, showing off the deep speed to make several plays deep. I caught up with him after Wednesday's practice to get his thoughts on how he is handling the transition to major college football, his academic goals,
How do you evaluate your first two practices at the college level?
"It's gone pretty well. There are a lot of things I know I can improve upon. I'm just trying to keep mentally sound and stay focused, even through adversity so that I can get better."
Lots of newcomers struggle with the high tempo of ASU's practices. How have you acclimated to that so far?
"So far, I've not acclimated enough to it. I have a long ways to go in terms of that, but I'm going to keep working so I can get that down."
What were some of the primary reasons that you decided to come to ASU?
"Academically, the Barrett Honors College was a big emphasis. As far as football and as a receiver, the tempo with 80+ plays per game gives me a chance to showcase my skills and contribute to the team. Also, the coaches have a really big belief in me."
What do you believe will be some of the biggest challenges you'll need to overcome during your freshman year?
"Conditioning for one. That's one of the biggest things for me. Mental toughness during the games when things don't go my way. Just to stay focused."
Other than the tempo, what are some of the other elements of the offensive scheme that are appealing to you?
"There's a lot of pass plays and a lot of running plays. It's very diverse in the playbook. You're not running the same routes over and over again, so that gets the cornerbacks and defenders not to key on what you are doing."
How has it been working with wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander?
"I enjoy it. It's tough. It's not easy at all, but I enjoy him taking the time to coach us all up so that we can have a chance to contribute to the team."
For fans who haven't seen you play, what would your self scouting report be?
"Speed for sure. That's what they tell me, at least. I'm really driven to succeed, so that I can help the team out. I'm not proud of what I've done so far. I have a long ways to go, in my opinion. I just think that I have something I can improve upon."
You've been playing on the outside thus far. Are they going to have you focus on one spot, or have you move around a bit?
"So far, I'm just focusing on one position right now. The 9 position is what they call it, the backside wide receiver."
What do you envision your role in the offense becoming?
"I want to be a balanced wide receiver that in any situation can do what is needed to be done."
What are your goals for this year and the remainder of your Sun Devil career?
"Long term, I want to be an All-American wide receiver. As far as short term goals, I want to get the tempo down, and not missed any assignments or blocks. Those are big things for me right now."