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Virginia Signee: LaChaston Smith

LaChaston Smith, an explosive athlete at linebacker, is enrolled at UVa.
LaChaston Smith, an explosive athlete at linebacker, is enrolled at UVa.

LaChaston Smith

Position: Linebacker

Hometown (School): Statesville, NC (South Iredell)

Height/Weight: 5'11'' 214 lbs

Committed to Virginia: 5/31/12

Lead Recruiter: Scott Wachenheim

LaChaston Smith was Virginia's only early enrollee for the 2013 cycle, and he's been on Grounds since last month. Smith is one of two North Carolina products to join the UVa program, along with wide receiver Keeon Johnson. Both Smith and Johnson played for North Carolina in the North Carolina/South Carolina Shrine Game late last year. Smith, a high 3-star prospect on both Rivals and 247Sports, chose the Hoos over some impressive offers including Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

After watching LaChaston's film you can see that the only thing keeping him from being a consensus 4-star player is his size. At 5'11'', Smith is a little undersized his position. That hasn't stopped players like London Fletcher from being effective at linebacker though. Smith can both drop back in coverage and play the pass, and also come up quickly and stop the run. Smith simply has a nose for the football. A big hitter, Smith has great awareness, quickly identifying the ball carrier and getting to the spot. Smith also has solid hands, returning several interceptions for South Iredell. Early in his senior season, Smith broke his leg, but still returned in time for the playoff push. In South Iredell's first playoff game, Smith rushed for 191 yards on 13 carries and 7 touchdowns, in the first half alone!

Smith is an exciting player on film, and almost certainly underrated because of his size. If he can stay healthy and bring that explosiveness he showed at the high school level to Virginia, then he will make a collegiate linebacker. Early in his career, Smith figures to be a terror on special teams. On kick coverage with his ability to pursue and lay big hits on ball carriers, Smith could make a major impact. The state of North Carolina has a ton of talent, and Virginia might have been able to go into enemy territory and pull out one of the nation's biggest sleepers with LaChaston Smith.

LaChaston Smith Junior Highlights (via UltimateProspects)