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REACTION: Gamecocks Get Modern-Day Tight End In Michael Smith

Shane Beamer and South Carolina's football staff new tight end commit Michael Smith fits the present mold at his position.
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It's been a fantastic week for head coach Shane Beamer and South Carolina's football program, as they've added a couple of big-time players at positions of need for the 2024 recruiting cycle. 

It started on Sunday afternoon with the commitment of South Carolina native Kam Pringle and continued on Tuesday afternoon with the pledge of Calvary Day School tight end Michael Smith.

What kind of offensive weapon are the Gamecocks getting in Michael Smith?

Downfield Receiving Threat

When watching Michael's junior season film, one can quickly discern that he makes his presence felt more so in the passing game, which resembles the skillset of modern-day tight ends. Smith is a flex TE who can line up all over the field, whether outside the numbers, in the slot, or in line.

Despite needing some potential refinement, Smith constantly defeated defensive backs on routes involving a double move, and his wide catch radius allows him to reel in tough passes even when a defender covers him well.

A Great Athlete

While his position-specific skills already cause trouble for defenses who face Michael, his consistently great release off the line of scrimmage when not being pressed makes him somebody a defense always needs to account for, especially in obvious passing situations. 

Combined with his superb straight-line speed, Smith is a tight end who can be an explosive play machine when he's given routes that allow him consistently move upfield and not have to make deep and sudden cuts straight to the sideline.

Elite Body Control

In his junior season, Michael averaged an otherworldly 25 yards per reception on 24 catches, and this happened due to how he adjusts to the ball and how well he runs after the catch. The Savannah native does a great job of reading passes in mid-flight, quickly processing how he needs to contort his body relative to the football and executing it perfectly.

Smith can also be nightmarish for defenders when running with the football, as his great body dexterity and contact balance makes it extremely difficult to bring him down through a simple arm or thud tackle.

Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, transfer tight end Trey Knox will be playing his final college football season this fall. While he's sure to provide South Carolina with some much-needed assistance in 2023, Michael Smith gives the Gamecocks an immediate replacement for this role.

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