For a program that hasn’t chased transfers in recent years, wide receiver Trey Smith was a good get for Southern.
Smith showed up offering himself as a graduate transfer from Division II Miles College, an HBCU in Fairfield, Alabama, earlier this year and certainly earned his keep. He’s the team’s second-leading receiver with 19 catches for 321 yards and a team-high six touchdowns.
At 6-foot-1, he added height to a short receiving corps and had the highest yards-per-catch average of Jaguars receivers with at least nine receptions. He also brought leadership, energy and enthusiasm while making himself well-liked among his position group and teammates in general.
“Immediately we knew he would be a guy who impacted our team,” Jaguar wide receivers coach Chris Coleman said. “He’s a natural leader, charismatic, with an infectious attitude, he doesn’t mind working and is very coachable.
“He’s solid with his hands, very good with his route running and savvy.”
Smith was not made available for interviews for this story. Southern’s policy does not permit media access to quarterbacks, freshmen and first-year transfers.
Smith showed up at Southern unannounced after catching 13 passes for 249 yards and three TDs last year at Miles, which is more of a run-based team. He earned respect and made friends quickly despite being a one-year option.
“Grad transfers have to be the right fit, the right attitude,” Coleman said. “They have to be willing to work. They’ve got one year and they want to be the guy. He earned the respect of the guys around him. I’ve got a really selfless group. They pull for each other.”
Smith made a good impression on Jaguars defenders, too.
“We have a lot of battles,” senior cornerback Demerio Houston said. “He’ll catch some on me and I’ll defend him good where he doesn’t catch any. We go back and forth and make each other better.
“He runs his routes really well. He has great ball skills and great hands. He’s good coming out of his cuts and breaks. He’s able to track the ball and find it.”
Grambling knows how to change the game quickly with 27 turnovers and 11 blocked kicks to their credit. The Tigers have 14 interceptions and have recovered 13 fumbles while forcing 14. Baton Ruge’s Joe McWilliams, a Southern Lab grad, leads with four interceptions and has blocked two kicks. Rodney Jackson have five blocked kicks. “That’s big,” coach Broderick Fobbs said. “We believe in taking the ball away. We practice it every day. We do a circuit train for five minutes where we strip the football and try to take it away. On offense we do the same thing trying to protect the ball. If to protect the football and turn people over, nine times out of 10 you win the ballgame.”
Actor, writer and comedian J.B. Smoove is one of the celebrities planning to attend the Classic. He started his career on "Def Comedy Jam" and is best known for his role as "Leon on Curb Your Enthusiasm."
Events scheduled for Bayou Classic Game Day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome include:
11 a.m.: Biz Tech Challenge. Hyatt Regency. Five finalists from 14 registered teams will present their comprehensive business plans at 1 p.m. Winning team gets cash prize of $10,000.
7 p.m.: Battle of the Bands and Greek Show, Superdome. Southern’s Human Jukebox takes on Grambling.
8 a.m.: Doc Grigg’s 2x Around the Dome Family Fitness Walk to encourage health, fitness wellness through exercises such as zumba, hula hooping, bicycling and second line dancing.
9:30 a.m.: Bayou Classic parade begins on Elysian Fields at N. Peters, down N. Peters to Decatur and Canal streets, left on St. Charles Avenue, right on Poydras Street, right on Loyola Ave. and ends at Duncan Plaza.
11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.: Fan Fest, at Champions Square at the Superdome. Musical performances, entertainment.
4 p.m.: Game kickoff