Josh Heupel continued his run of stacking his Tennessee Vols on Tuesday with the addition of 4-star safety Sylvester Smith to the Vols class of 2023.
By Steve Wright
Heupel has worked wonders on the field and in the recruiting game in his short time in Knoxville and this is another big addition to his vision of what Tennessee football can be.
Smith is a legit playmaker in the defensive backfield. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder out of Munford (Munford, AL) High School is ranked as the No. 147 player in the class per the 247Sports Composite. He is seen as the No. 11 safety and the No. 13 player in Alabama. Smith clearly knows the way that rivalries work in the SEC as before pulling out a Tennessee hat he first teased a commitment to Florida by pulling out one of their hats. This Gators’ tease – plus Smith being from Alabama – means a whole host of games during his Vols tenure had the heat turned up just a touch.
The video below gives a good breakdown of what Smith is all about. He hits like a train. The first play on the video is one where Smith reads the option run from his safety spot before coming up and annihilating the running back. It is the type of hit that is a tone setter and that will make any back or receiver a little more wary of entering Smith’s hit radius. The next few plays are similar – Smith seems to have no regard for his own body – and he always seems to be making his hits at top speed.
Smith can also cover. He is excellent at playing that centerfield role and breaks on the ball well to step in front of receivers. His ball skills are top end and he has plenty of speed In the open field. Expect to see Smith on special teams in a variety of roles early in his Tennessee career.