August: Jaylon Smith
With the 34th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected no other than: Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith.
- 5 Star Athlete Coming Out of High School
- Consensus All-American (2015)
- Dick Butkus Award Winner (2015)
- 2× First-team All-Independent (2014, 2015)
- Second-team All-American (2014)
- Independent DPOY (2014)
- Music Bowl Champion (2014)
- Pinstripe Bowl Champion (2013)
- Tall (6 foot 2)
- Strong (240 pounds)
- Only 20 years of age
- Great character
From a resume standpoint, you could not ask for a better prospect coming out of the linebacker position. However, Smith suffered a very serious injury on the last play of his collegiate career at ND. He tore his ACL and LCL and the injury damaged the peroneal nerve in the knee, hindering his ability to pick up his left foot. The 18 months since then have been all about recovery. Smith had surgery – performed by Cowboys physician Dr. Daniel Cooper – and he wowed the organization during the draft process.
However impressive he might have been before he joined the team, Garrett continually stresses that he’s been even better in the time since he was drafted.
“I say this, and you guys will probably laugh a little bit, but he literally has not had a bad minute since he’s been here,” Garrett said. “And clearly somehow, someway he’s had obstacles to overcome and his mind has probably been affected at some point but he never demonstrates that.”
Perhaps that helps explain Smith’s answer when he’s asked whether he’d still play in that bowl game, even knowing he’d get hurt, tossing everything he has worked for into doubt.
“I would play it again. And I don’t just mean that figuratively. Like I truly believe that,” Smith said. “It’s just not in me to give up, even if it was for the benefit of me.
“This could be for the benefit of me. I’m becoming a better man.”
FACT: Jaylon’s brother, Rod Smith is also a member of the Cowboys. The undrafted free agent running back from Ohio State was claimed off waivers during the 2015 season, and is currently battling for a roster spot.
Many are excited for the inspiring linebacker to make his long-awaited NFL debut, and that will come this Saturday (August 19th), against the Indianapolis Colts.
Published by: Nicco Vocaturo