Who is Cameron Smith? 5 things to know about USC’s linebacker

Cameron Smith-USC-5 things to know

Much of the credit to USC’s 10-2, Pac-12 championship destined season has been awarded to the offense, thanks to another brilliant year from Sam Darnold and a record breaking one from running back Ronald Jones. But the defense has done more than its part, and much of that is thanks to linebacker Cameron Smith.

With Friday night’s 8 p.m. game against Stanford, where USC will contend for its first Pac-12 title since 2008, sure to be a physical one, the Trojan linebacking core will be put to the test. Here are five things you should know about Smith, the fulcrum of the Trojan defense.

1. Smith started the year as a captain…on the bench

In August, Smith was elected as captain, which, in most cases, would mean he’d be shaking hands at midfield, and most certainly starting the game. Then came the season-opener and Smith was…sitting.

He had been suspended for the first half because of a targeting ejection in the second half of the Rose Bowl. Jordan Iosefa started in Smith’s stead, though Smith still finished with six tackles, a total he doubled three weeks later in a win at Cal.

2. Smith is USC’s leading tackler

In spit of missing that first half against a vastly overwhelmed Western Michigan team, Smith still leads the Trojans in tackles. His 49 are nine more than runner-up Uchenna Nwosu, and are a single-season record for Smith, who recorded 45 in both his freshman and sophomore years.

3. Smith has returned an interception for a touchdown

Interceptions are not the linebacker’s forte. He has just four in 35 games as a Trojan, and three of those came in his first year in Los Angeles. As did his first — and only — touchdown. Maybe you shouldn’t necessarily expect the junior to be a major point scorer on Friday, but you never know — it could be time for his second touchdown.

4. Smith has always played above his class

When Smith was in fourth grade, he played four years above his age group, competing against eighth graders. Thus began a theme of Smith playing well above his class. As a sophomore at Granite Bay High School in California, Smith recorded an absurd 196 tackles in leading the team to a state championship.

He outperformed expectations again as a true freshman at USC. After enrolling a semester early, he became a 2015 USA Today, ESPN.com, Sporting News and 247Sports Freshman All-American first teamer, and ended the season as the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.

5. It’s possible Smith never gets tired. Ever.

On Nov. 11, USC beat Colorado 38-24, clinching the Pac-12 South in the process. Colorado threw the ball 49 times and ran it another 34. Smith was on the field for all 83 defensive snaps, as well as another 11, making for a career-high 94 snaps in a single 60-minute game.

The post Who is Cameron Smith? 5 things to know about USC’s linebacker appeared first on Diehards.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.