Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs go small college route again to take cornerback Ryan Smith

Defensive back Ryan Smith has run 4.3 seconds in the 40, according to the Bucs.

Defensive back Ryan Smith has run 4.3 seconds in the 40, according to the Bucs.

TAMPA — A year after finding a small-school gem by drafting Ali Marpet out of Division III Hobart College, the Bucs went the same route in the fourth round Saturday, taking Division I-AA North Carolina Central's Ryan Smith, who could help at safety and on returns.

Smith played only one year of high school football, went to NCCU as a 155-pound freshman and developed into a 190-pound prospect who broke the school's tackles record and finished with seven interceptions.

"A lot of people doubted me. A lot of people didn't want to take a chance on me," Smith said of his college recruiting. "It still happens to this day … I'm just blessed to be in this position, and I thank (the Bucs) for this opportunity."

Smith, drafted by Tampa Bay 108th overall, has also played cornerback and nickel in college and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

"He has a lot of versatility as far as what he can help a football team do," NCCU coach Jerry Mack said Saturday. "You're getting a quality athlete who can do a lot of things to help you win games."

The Bucs brought Smith in for a visit and left impressed with his toughness, bringing him to join a revamped secondary that will include first-round corner Vernon Hargreaves and veteran cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Josh Robinson.

"He's fast. He's a low 4.4 (40-yard dash) guy, we've had him timed as high as 4.3," Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. "He's an aggressive guy. He'll hit you. He's got a great mentality. He's a super kid. … He's tough, he's athletic. He's got a chance."

Smith, who had only one partial scholarship offer coming out of high school, was the first of four Bucs picks on Saturday from the fourth through seventh rounds. He's grateful for the confidence shown in him from Tampa Bay's front office and coaches.

"I think I can help this team out a lot," he said. "When I'm out there, the feeling is indescribable. … You're going to get my all and then some. I know that for a fact.

"I'm going to be a major part of this team, and I'm going to do everything I can to help them."

Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Bucs go small college route again to take cornerback Ryan Smith 04/30/16 [Last modified: Sunday, May 1, 2016 12:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 5 1/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  2. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    PLUNKED AND PEEVED: The Jays’ Josh Donaldson gets hit by a Jake Faria pitch in the third inning, showing displeasure with a long stare on his way to first base.
  3. Tim Tebow's slump continues, as does fan support


    CLEARWATER — On July 29, playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tim Tebow smacked a mammoth three-run homer, helping the St. Lucie Mets cruise to a 10-3 victory at Charlotte Sports Park.

    St. Lucie’s Tim Tebow, shown Monday at Spectrum Field, struggled at the plate Wednesday against the Threshers.
  4. Rays at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. Thursday


    Today: at Blue Jays

    4:07, Rogers Centre, Toronto

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84)

    JAYS: RH Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69)

  5. Dolphins QB Jay Cutler in race to prepare for opener vs. Bucs


    There's a delicate balance Adam Gase must maintain as the Dolphins' coach leads his team out of an injury-filled training camp, and into Thursday night's preseason game against the Ravens.

    Dolphins coach Adam Gase wants to get Jay Cutler and other starters playing time in tonight’s preseason game, but injuries are a concern.