Jaylon Smith

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Jaylon Smith
refer to caption
Smith in 2017.
No. 54 – Dallas Cowboys
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1995-06-14) June 14, 1995 (age 22)
Place of birth: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school: Fort Wayne (IN) Bishop Luers
College: Notre Dame
NFL Draft: 2016 / Round: 2 / Pick: 34
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 2, 2017
Tackles: 17
Quarterback sacks: 0.0
Interceptions: 0
Passes defended: 0
Forced fumbles: 1
Touchdowns: 0
Player stats at NFL.com

Jaylon Smith (born June 14, 1995) is an American football linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Notre Dame and was drafted 34th overall by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

High school career[edit]

Smith attended Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he was a letterman in football, basketball and track. In football, he won the Butkus Award as a senior, given to the best high school linebacker in the country,[1][2] and was named the Mr. Football award winner for the state of Indiana. He helped Bishop Luers to 40–28 win over Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter in 2012 Indiana 2A title game while rushing for 150 yards and scoring three touchdowns, as Bishop Luers became first Indiana 2A school to win four straight state titles. He finished with 1,265 rushing yards and 18 TDs on 176 attempts as senior in 2012 to go with 10 receptions for 66 yards and two more TDs. Defensively, he recorded 72 tackles (43 solo), 19.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and seven pass deflections. In basketball, he played as a freshman, sophomore and junior, and was teammates with former Ohio State basketball player Deshaun Thomas.

In track & field, Smith competed in events ranging from the relays to the shot put as a senior. At the 2013 IHSAA T&F Sectional, he took fourth in the shot put, with a PR of 14.81 meters (48 ft 6 in), and ran the lead leg on first-place 4 × 100 m (43.43) and fourth leg on second-place 4 × 400 m (3:27.08).[3] At the 2013 SAC T&F Meet, he anchored the Bishop Luers' 4 × 100 m relay team, winning the event with a time of 42.91 seconds, and the 4 × 400 m, which finished in third place, while also placing third in the shot put (47 ft 5 in) and eight in the 400-meter dash (53.46 s).[4]


Smith signed his letter of intent on February 6, 2013 and committed to attend and play football at the University of Notre Dame.[5] He is considered the best outside linebacker recruit of his class by Rivals.com and Scout.com.[6][7] He played in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Jaylon Smith
Fort Wayne, IN Bishop Luers High School 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 237 lb (108 kg) 4.50 Jun 2, 2012 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:5/5 stars   Rivals:5/5 stars   247SportsN/A    ESPN grade: 90
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 1 (OLB), 1 (regional), 3 (national)   Rivals: 1 (OLB), 3 (national)  ESPN: 2 (OLB), 1 (regional), 7 (national)
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


College career[edit]

Smith in 2013,

In 2013, Smith won the starting DOG linebacker position beating out Ben Councell, after incumbent starter Danny Spond had to retire due to migraine issues.[8][9] Starting all 13 games, he recorded 67 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, one forced fumble, three pass break ups and one interception. His best game came in a 34–30 victory against Arizona State, where he recorded nine tackles, including 1.5 for loss. He notched his first career interception against USC on a pass thrown by Cody Kessler.

With the arrival of new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, he was moved to an inside linebacker position in 2014.[10] He was one of three players to start all 13 games on defense, recording 112 tackles, including nine for loss, and 3.5 sacks, adding two pass breakups and one forced fumble. He was named the FBS Independent Co-Defensive Player of the Year, along with teammate Joe Schmidt IV and was named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press.[11][12]

During his junior year in 2015, Smith played in all 13 games with 115 tackles, nine tackles for loss, one sack, five passes defended, two fumble recoveries, and 1 forced fumble. He won the Butkus Award, given annually to college football's top linebacker.[13] During the Fiesta Bowl game against Ohio State, Smith suffered a knee injury in the first quarter and left the game. It was confirmed that the knee was diagnosed with tears to the ACL and LCL.[14] He underwent successful knee surgery on both ligaments on January 7, 2016. On January 11, 2016, Smith announced he would forego his remaining eligibility and enter the 2016 NFL draft.[15]

College stats[edit]

NCAA Collegiate Career statistics
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Season Tackling Interceptions Fumbles
Year Class GP Comb Solo Asst Loss Sack Int Yds Lng TD PD FF FR Yds TD
2013 FR 13 67 41 26 6.5 0.0 1 -1 -1 0 3 1 1 0 0
2014 SO 13 111 64 47 9.0 3.5 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0
2015 JR 13 114 69 45 9.0 1.0 0 0 0 0 5 1 2 0 0
Career 39 292 174 118 24.5 4.5 1 -1 -1 0 10 3 3 0 0

Professional career[edit]

After unsuccessfully trying to trade their second (34th overall) and third round (67th overall) draft choices to move back into the first round of the 2016 NFL draft to select quarterback Paxton Lynch,[16] the Dallas Cowboys surprised observers and the media by selecting Smith in the second round (34th overall),[17] gambling that he can come back from a serious left knee injury he suffered in his last college game and that was operated on by the team's doctor, Dan Cooper.[18]

On May 20, 2016, Smith signed his four-year rookie contract reportedly worth $6.49 million with a $2.9 million signing bonus.[19] On June 29, 2016, Ed Werder, a Dallas-based reporter for ESPN, said on Twitter that "I'm told #Cowboys No. 2 pick @thejaylonsmith has experienced no significant improvement in injured nerve so far. Playing 2016 seems unlikely".[20] Werder then went on to tweet that "One NFC GM on @thejaylonsmith at draft: "50/50 he ever plays." AFC HC: "Will play again. Not this year. Probably not exact same level." "[21] Werder then followed up a few minutes later by tweeting that the "#Cowboys confident in @thejaylonsmith eventually playing. "He's going to have a 10-year career; we just don't know when it will start." " [22] It was unclear who exactly Werder was quoting in this tweet.

Jared Dubin, a CBS Sports writer, stated in an article posted to CBSSports.com on June 29, 2016, that "The Cowboys are confident in their diagnosis because it was their team physician that did Smith's surgery." He also went on to point out that, since the team's physician was the one to do the surgery, the Cowboys have more up-to-date information than other teams. Dubin then continued by saying that the Cowboys are in dire need of a superstar like Jaylon Smith, and that they cannot afford to lose such a valuable prospect.[23] Smith never made an appearance during his rookie year in 2016 in an effort to recover from his most recent surgery.[24]

Smith made his NFL debut on September 10, 2017, recording 7 total tackles and a forced fumble.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Jaylon's brother, Rod is also a player for Dallas Cowboys. The undrafted free agent running back from Ohio State was claimed off waivers during the 2015 season, and is currently on the team's practice squad.[26]


  1. ^ Gillett, Brian. (December 3, 2012) Jaylon Smith Wins H.S. Butkus Award. Indianasnewscenter.com. Retrieved on 2015-09-13.
  2. ^ Te'o, Smith sweep Butkus honors. Espn.go.com (December 3, 2012). Retrieved on 2015-09-13.
  3. ^ HY-TEK's Meet Manager 5/16/2013 08:42 PM, 2013 IHSAA FW Wayne Boys Sectional – 5/16/2013, Wayne High School. May 16, 2013
  4. ^ Jones, Greg (May 4, 2013) Luers' 400 relay team gridiron stars too. journalgazette.net
  5. ^ Jaylon Smith To Notre Dame: 5-Star Outside Linebacker Recruit Commits To Fighting Irish. Huffingtonpost.com. June 4, 2012.
  6. ^ Jaylon Smith. Sports.yahoo.com (April 20, 2011). Retrieved on 2015-09-13.
  7. ^ Jaylon Smith. Recruiting.scout.com. Retrieved on September 13, 2015.
  8. ^ Fortuna, Matt (August 21, 2013) Migraines end Danny Spond's career. Espn.go.com. Retrieved on 2015-09-13.
  9. ^ Jaylon Smith Named Notre Dame Starter. Indianasnewscenter.com. Retrieved on September 13, 2015.
  10. ^ Smith Moves To The Middle. Notredame.247sports.com (April 16, 2014). Retrieved on 2015-09-13.
  11. ^ Jaylon Smith Named 2nd Team AP All-American. Irishsportsdaily.com (December 16, 2014). Retrieved on 2015-09-13.
  12. ^ Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith transcends growing pains to earn All-America honors. Heraldtimesonline.com (December 16, 2014). Retrieved on 2015-09-13.
  13. ^ Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith wins Butkus Award
  14. ^ Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith has torn ACL, MCL
  15. ^ He is now a Dallas Cowboy Jaylon Smith intends to enter 2016 NFL Draft
  16. ^ "Jerry Jones lost sleep over missing out on Paxton Lynch". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith cries, celebrates draft selection". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Cowboys don't view Jaylon Smith as luxury, though he'll likely miss season". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Jaylon Smith signs with Cowboys; now when will he play?". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 20, 2016. 
  20. ^ https://twitter.com/Edwerderespn/status/748142130363785217
  21. ^ https://twitter.com/Edwerderespn/status/748144180367613952?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
  22. ^ https://twitter.com/Edwerderespn/status/748144826374316032?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
  23. ^ Dubin, Jared (June 29, 2016). "Report: No improvement in nerve of Cowboys' Jaylon Smith, 2016 likely out". CBSSports.com. Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  24. ^ Sessler, Marc. "Jaylon Smith after minicamp: 'I feel like me'". NFL. Retrieved June 18, 2017. 
  25. ^ http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/09/11/jaylon-smith-now-only-plays-but-stars-for-cowboys-in-debut/
  26. ^ "Cowboys claim Seattle RB Rod Smith off waivers". sportsday.dallasnews.com. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 

External links[edit]