Torrey Smith was oneof 15 NFL hopefuls looking to increase their stock in front of representatives from 28 teams at Maryland pro day on March 16. Smith, a 6-foot-1, 208-pound wideout, stood on everything he did at the combine, but went through positional workouts indoors on AstroTurf. Smith worked out with St. Louis Rams wide receivers coach Nolan Cromwell and Cincinnati Bengals wide receivers coach James Urban. He's hadthree private workouts to date. Smith figures to be a bottom of the first or top of the second round draft choice next month.
Maryland has become known for its workout-warrior prospects in recent years. Vernon Davis and Bruce Campbell etched their names in scouting combine workout lore with rare athletic test results in Indianapolis. Another fast receiver out of Maryland, Darrius Heyward-Bey, didn't exactly blaze a trail for Smith to follow as a first-round pick in 2009.
Smith has excellent timed speed, start-and-stop quickness and the height and upper-body strength to develop into a star NFL receiver and kick returner -- multiple teams, including the Raiders, had the same idea about "4.3 DHB."
Teams have told Smith he's great at what he does best, but has some work to do if he wants to be elite at the next level.
"They're all saying I'm a big-play threat. I have to focus on polishing up as a (complete) receiver," he said.
The fourth-year junior won't be takinghis paycheck for granted. The oldest of seven children of Monica Jenkins, Smithwas the de facto father in his home. Jenkins was beaten and assaulted in front of her children in what Smith called"bad relationships." He stood tall, and said he was always intent on making his situation a positive. Teams praised him for his high character in face-to-face interviews and coaches went out of their way to seek him out in Indianapolis.
"There's some great stories in college football and the National Football League, what guys have overcome, what players have done to get to this point, Torrey Smith is one of those stories," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
His success story might not be complete, but it's by no means short of material.
"It had its ups and downs," Smith said."I was always with my family. There were certain times when other kids would be able to go and have fun doing something, and I had responsibility. But that's something I would not take back."
Smith said Jenkins is his very best friend to this day, and they raised each other, even when Smith was left alone to care for the family when Jenkins was working to make ends meet.
"It definitely helped me a lot," Smith said."Seeing her mistakes,I was able to go out and not make those mistakes myself as I got older. I knew what I had to do to stay focused on my goals as I got older."
He still considers himself an underdog, even as the third-ranked receiver in a class dominated by juniors -- A.J. Green of Georgia and Alabama's Julio Jonesare rated 1-2 at the position by NFLDraftScout.com.
Torrey Smith isn't just coveted as a receiver. He owns the Maryland record for all-purpose yards with 5,183 in only three seasons and was sixth in the nation in 2009 (182.7 per game). Of course,he said he's so eager to help in the NFL he would embrace a role on special teams. But not returning kicks.
"As a gunner," Smith said. "That's one thing I take a lot of pride in."
Like speed, pride runsin ample supply for Smith.
Release: Good burst off the snap to eat up the cushion. Possesses very goodstraight-line speed, making it risky for defenders to attempt press coverage. Quick hands to slap away the initial jam and has the balance, flexibility and strength to absorb a pop, gain freedom quickly and acceleratedownfield.
Hands: Reliable pass-catcher, thoughhe needs to be more consistent with catching with his hands. Shows the ability to extend and pluck the ball out of the air. Long arms and good body control to contort in space to make the difficult reception of a poorly thrown ball. Can absorb the big hitand hang on. Good vision and balance to track the ball over hisshoulder.