Penn State OT Donovan Smith To Enter 2015 NFL Draft
Penn State left tackle Donovan Smith, seen by most as the team’s best offensive lineman, will forgo his senior season of eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
“It seems like it was yesterday that I was sitting at the kitchen table talking with the greatest college football coach in history, Joseph Vincent Paterno,” Smith said in a statement. “I promised him and my family that I would get my degree. After achieving one of my life goals of receiving a degree from The Pennsylvania State University, I feel it’s time to continue the pursuit of my dream of becoming a NFL player. The past four years have been a physical and emotional roller coaster, but have ultimately made me a better man. Thank you to my family, all of my teammates, coaches and the best fan base in college football for the best four years of my life. I am eternally grateful to you all. WE ARE!”
At 6’5″, 335 pounds, Smith has all of the physical tools necessary to succeed at the next level. Playing in the Big Ten, Smith has gone against some of the nation’s top talent, including Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, and Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who have all warranted first round draft grades.
Smith entered the 2014 season surrounded by plenty of hype, after being named named to the preseason Outland Trophy watch list, while coming off a successful 2013 campaign. Smith, a redshirt junior, graduated with a degree in Criminology this past semester.
With highly-touted players such as Stanford’s Andrus Peat and Iowa’s Brandon Scherff headlining the list of offensive line prospects, Smith will likely have to wait until day two of the NFL Draft to hear his name called. Over the course of his career as a Nittany Lion, Smith recorded 31 starts, tied for second highest on the entire team.
Smith will fit perfectly on a team searching for a big-bodied left tackle to anchor its quarterback’s blindside. With Smith gone, depth along the offensive line will be that much more important, as the team retains only three starters in center/guard Angelo Mangiro, guard Brian Gaia, and tackle Andrew Nelson, while bringing in a few highly rated prospects in tackles Sterling Jenkins and Paris Palmer. The team also retains three key reserves in guard Derek Dowry, who was a key member in James Franklin’s rotation at offensive guard, along with center Wendy Laurent, and tackle Brendan Mahon.
Smith was an important contributor, and a fearless competitor during his time at Penn State. We wish him the best in his NFL career!