Texas Tech football: Best JUCO tranfers in program history

LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 31: Dakota Allen
LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 31: Dakota Allen /
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(Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) /

No. 4: LB Will Smith 2012-13

One of three players out of Riverside Community College to sign with the Red Raiders in 2012, LB Will Smith became a tackling machine in his two-year career.  He finished with 175 career tackles (12.0 for loss), 4.5 sacks, and two pass defenses.

His career game came in his swan song, the 2013 Holiday Bowl win over No. 14 Arizona State.  He racked up 14 tackles (two for loss) and was named the game’s defensive MVP.

But that was not his career-high as he racked up 18 tackles the previous game as Tech fell to the Longhorns in Austin.  He also had 16 tackles in game-eleven against Baylor.

For the season, Smith had 120 tackles and 4.5 sacks as he helped Tech field the best defense of the Kingsbury era.  That year, the Red Raiders finished No. 84 in total defense, the only time a Kingsbury defense finished in the top-100 nationally.

In 26 career games, Smith had at least six tackles 17 times.  What’s more, he reached that number in every game but one in his senior season.

Recently, Tech fans have been spoiled when it comes to middle linebackers.  Dakota Allen, Jordyn Brooks and Riko Jeffers have brought the type of talent to the position that we have not seen since the 1990s.

But when Will Smith emerged as one of the most productive defensive players in the Big 12, the program had been struggling to find answers at the position for years.  Smith became the type of leader in the middle of the defense that the Red Raiders had desperately needed and was a huge part of the last 8-win season the program has produced.