Florida A&M wide receiver Xavier Smith named HBCU Shrine Bowl Offensive Player of the Week

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After notching three touchdowns in a 38-25 victory over Alabama A&M, sensational Florida A&M wide receiver Xavier Smith was named the HBCU Shrine Bowl Offensive Player of the Week. A member of the Shrine Bowl 1000 watch list and one of four HBCU players on the Walter Payton Award watch list, Smith matches preseason expectations with electric performances for the Rattlers at the start of the season. college football 2022.

Week 4 Shrine Bowl HBCU Player of the Week: Florida A&M wide receiver Xavier Smith

Smith earned HBCU Shrine Bowl Offensive Player of the Week honors with an impressive performance that was key to his program’s 12th straight home win. After falling behind early on Alabama A&M, the Rattlers fought back, with Smith’s first touchdown — a 20-yard catch from QB Jeremy Moussa — proving a psychological hammer blow to the Bulldogs just before halftime.

His second, a 10-yard pirouette hitch in the corner of the end zone, gave Florida A&M their first lead of the night. Smith ensured there would be no comeback for the Bulldogs with an acrobatic grab in the end zone that extended the Rattlers’ lead to 19 points. As Alabama A&M put another score on the board late in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t enough to stop the Rattlers from notching up their second win of a season that started hard but is gaining momentum. each passing week.

Smith finished the night with three touchdowns and 96 receiving yards. On a team full of talent, the fourth-year wide receiver has been a consistent playmaker and offensive leader. This season, he’s already had 30 receptions for 318 yards with a 46-yard long catch against Albany State, a game where he showed off his offensive versatility by rushing for 49 yards on six carries. The 5’10”, 170-pound wide receiver has also returned kicks for the Rattlers during his career.

“Smith had an incredibly productive day in a great game against Alabama A&M,” Shrine Bowl college scouting director Shane Coughlin told Pro Football Network. “He’s had an impressive start to the season near the top of all FCS receiving categories”

Being named the HBCU Shrine Bowl Offensive Player of the Week is just the latest honor in an unlikely football journey for the Florida A&M wide receiver. Smith was working at Amazon when he walked for the Rattlers. Four years later, he is one of the best receivers at the FCS level, with his eyes firmly on reaching the NFL. His performance in earning HBCU Shrine Bowl Offensive Player of the Week honors showcased some of his alluring skills that could get him some attention in the 2023 NFL Draft.

According to Coughlin, Smith has been successful so far this season “using his abrupt change of direction and natural adjustments to win both under and over defenders.” However, he introduced additional elements to his game in the win over Alabama A&M.

“On the previous film he showed the elusiveness and bursting of space, but this week we saw his value on deeper grounds as well as in the red zone. He has sudden pauses and shows better control in his transitions.

As a true freshman in 2018, Smith led the Rattlers with 727 receiving yards — a mark that ranked second in the conference — and earned All-MEAC Second Team accolades. A year later, the Haines City native, a former Ridge High School running back, passed the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his college football career. The Florida A&M wide receiver added 11 touchdowns to his resume in 2019 while establishing himself as a big game threat with 15.1 yards per catch.

The disruption of the 2020 season may have slowed Smith’s rise to stardom a bit, but it couldn’t completely stop him. As the Rattlers returned to the field in 2021, their star receiver was in the lead once again. Despite a reduction in goals, Smith still tallied for over 700 yards in his third campaign while impressing against FBS opponents USF in a game that accounted for nearly a quarter (15 catches) of his total receptions for the season.

Smith is no stranger to accolades. Heading into the 2022 college football season, he ranked in the FCS top 10 in career receptions, receptions per game, and receiving yards per game. The Florida A&M receiver has won conference honors multiple times and was named a Black College All-American while earning HERO Sports Sophomore All-American honors in 2019.

Now he can add the HBCU Shrine Bowl Offensive Player of the Week to that list.

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and college football analyst for Pro Football Network. Check rest of his work hereand you can find him on Twitter: @ojhodgkinson.

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