Sept. 24, 2003
Georgia Tech’s most versatile offensive player is wideout Jonathan Smith, and the senior from Argyle, Ga., is making a climb up Tech’s career receiving charts.
Smith and the Yellow Jackets (1-3, 0-2 ACC) travel to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Vanderbilt Saturday at 7 p.m. ET at Vanderbilt Stadium. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis on CSS.
The speedy Smith is coming off a career night against Clemson, when he caught nine passes for 170 yards. That was his second 100-yard game of the season and the third of his career, but Smith prefers not to talk about individual statistics, especially after a loss.
“I really didn’t know I caught nine balls, but I try not to get into all that,” said Smith. “I just concentrate on executing and trying to get points on the board.”
Smith’s effort against Clemson also vaulted him into the top five on Tech’s career receiving list. He now has 118 career receptions, just three catches behind former teammate Will Glover (121) by just three catches. The Tech record of 195 catches is held by another of his former teammates, Kelly Campbell, now with the Minnesota Vikings.
Smith also ranks 10th in Tech history with 1,455 career receiving yards.
Quickly becoming the favorite target of freshman quarterback Reggie Ball, Smith has 22 catches for 355 yards through four games, despite not catching a single pass in Tech’s win over Auburn.
“I hope that we have a chemistry, because I love getting the ball,” said Smith of working with Ball. “But I think he just drops back and makes his reads, and if I’m the primary receiver on that play, he tries to get me the ball.”
Nicknamed “Freddie,” Smith has 10 more catches than number two receiver Nate Curry (12-160), whom Smith admits is the faster of the two and credits for some of his production.
“Sometimes the coverage rolls [Curry’s] way because he’s faster than I am and they have to respect his speed. That helps me a lot. The safeties have to roll his way to make sure he’s not going deep.”
Smith has been impressed with the poise and maturity of Ball.
“Sometimes I can’t tell he’s a freshman with some of the plays that he makes,” said Smith.
This season, Smith has taken on the added responsibility as Tech’s primary punt returner, and he ranks fourth in the ACC with 109.8 all-purpose yards per game.