Land of 10 has embarked on a series of Next Generation stories as Iowa writers Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse travel the country to meet this year’s incoming class of freshmen. This week we visited 3-star WR Brandon Smith of Lake Cormorant, Miss.
LAKE CORMORANT, Miss. — Brandon Smith’s electric senior season at Lake Cormorant High School consisted of 80 catches for 1,509 yards and 19 receiving touchdowns.
The Iowa wide receiver commit put up video-game numbers in a late October victory against Center Hill. In a 43-21 rout, Smith caught 8 passes for 290 yards and 5 touchdowns. The statistics are nearly as jaw-dropping as the manner with which they happened.
“The team was kind of in a rut and guys weren’t playing up to their ability, but Brandon was,” Lake Cormorant coach Nick Nester said. “So I just looked at the offensive coordinator and said, ‘Don’t stop throwing him the football.’ Because if you go back and look at the passes that were thrown, the quarterback was doing his best to get him the ball but they weren’t great passes. He was just going up and taking the football in that game.
“People, for whatever reason, it just baffled me; they’d play him by himself. ‘OK, if you want to put him over there and find out the hard way, we’ll do it. If you give him one-on-one [coverage], we’re going to throw it to him every time we can.'”
Smith, who stands 6-foot-3, weighs 205 pounds and has XXXL-sized hands, said he doesn’t feel disrespected by an opponent for lining up in single coverage. Instead, he smiles.
“I get excited,” Smith said. “I got used to being double teamed. So if I just have a corner on me, it’s like my birthday. It’s like they’re giving me a gift.”
Smith won the Mississippi Class 5A high jump competition last weekend with a leap of 6-6. He tied for the title as a junior at 6-8 but lost the crown because he had a scratch. His vertical jump of 39 inches would have placed fourth among wide receivers at the NFL combine in March.
His dimensions and athletic prowess gave Smith an advantage over most of his high school opponents. It was something Nester recognized early with his receiver.
“The biggest thing for us is if we ever felt like we could get Brandon by himself, regardless of who they put over there, it was beneficial for us,” Nester said. “We knew he was going to win.”
Related: Once overlooked, wide receiver Max Cooper could see early playing time at Iowa.
Henry Marchese’s recruiting odyssey ended with a dream offer from the Hawkeyes.
For the complete Iowa NextGen series, click this link.