Braden Smith is one of the more intriguing recruits in the class of 2014. Out of Olathe (Kan.) South Senior High School, Smith is a consensus five-star recruit and a consensus top-ten offensive line recruit according to the major services.
Smith stands 6'6 and weighs in at 280 pounds. He is being hotly pursued by Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, and Texas A&M, and also holds offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan, and Miami, amongst others.
Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst: I've had the opportunity to evaluate Smith on film and in person at a recent national combine. And he's a very interesting player. The first thing that pops up with Smith is his physical size. He is physically imposing, and clearly has lifted weights for a long time. Smith has large arms and legs, and is quite strong. But he also has a narrow bone structure, and it is absolutely fair to question whether he is much closer to being maxed out than the typical offensive line prospect.
Smith tests extremely well. He runs the 40 well, and he is very strong on the bench press. He plays in a wing-t offense, and most of his plays are run blocking. Smith does not play great competition, and more often than not overwhelms his opposition. He has a good initial punch, and when he plays low, can really finish off blocks using his leg drive. Smith has good speed in the open field to reach players at the second level, and is quick at the snap.
I do have some questions about his ability in pass protection. He can be a bit robotic, stiff or tight, and could be a better fit as a guard. However, his length and speed may allow him to stay at tackle. Smith is a good prospect, and though I am not quite as high on him as some, I do believe he can become a multi-year starter at the BCS level.