Photo by baylor.247sports.com
Team: Class 3A Grandview Zebras
Gunslinger: Zach Smith
2014 season stats and end result: 3,407 yards, 34 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 67 percent completion percentage over 10 games. Finished at 5-5.
It took me a while to find Zach Smith, and that may be because I cover a lot of talent in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but needless to say, you’re all in for a pleasant surprise.
The Zebras didn’t reach the playoffs last season with Smith at the helm of the offense, but it wasn’t because Smith isn’t worthy of our No. 9 ranking. The senior-to-be orally committed to Baylor on June 1, 2014, and the past two years he’s done nothing but improve in Grandview’s spread offense.
*Remember, oral commitments are non-binding. The official date of National Signing Day for all Class of 2016 athletes is February 3, 2016.*
Legendary head coach Art Briles asked his son, Kendal Briles — now offensive coordinator for the Bears — to recruit the small-school phenom. It took a camp visit to Waco for Smith to commit to the Bears, a team he’s been watching since the eighth grade when Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III led their high-octane offense. However, Smith is more-so compared to Baylor’s latest pocket passer, Bryce Petty.
“Like Petty, the 6’4″ Smith easily passes the eyeball test for pro-style, pocket passer,” JB Lajzer of SB Nation wrote.
Smith knows his expertise fits the mold of Brile’s’ let-it-fly offense, and his head coach Casey Walraven couldn’t agree more.
“I feel like he’s the best at his position in the state of Texas and he’s going to have a phenomenal senior year and move on to Baylor and do great things there,” Walraven said to A.J. Crisp of the Cleburne Times-Review.
If he does eventually sign the dotted line come NSD, he’ll have to earn his spot of becoming Art’s signal-caller of one of (if not the) highest rated spread offenses in the country. With Smith’s verbal commitment, he only adds to the laundry list of Class of 2016 quarterbacks Brile’s’ recruiting staff has snagged.
The Bears recently received a verbal commit from Class of 2017 QB Kellen Mond out of San Antonio Reagan.
People thought RGIII was the prodigal son in Waco when he broke all of Baylor’s passing records, but since his exit, successors Nick Florence and Petty broke nearly all of his records. It just goes to show how critical a precision passer plays a pivotal role in Brile’s’ offense.
A lot of you naysayers out there may not agree with our No. 9 ranking because Smith plays against AAA players who are far from the competition he’ll see on Saturdays, but I encourage you all to read the following statement from his head coach and watch some of his electrifying plays from last season below.
Psst… Watch his footwork, the quick and subtle movements he makes to buy more time, and the speed and pinpoint accuracy he displays under pressure.
“One of the highest compliments I can make is that with all the high-speed offenses today, Zach has the ability to slow the game down in his mind,” Walraven told Erik Small of the Waco Tribune. “He sees where we need to go with the ball and puts it there. He also is very good at using eye manipulation to move defenders.”