Tyler Matakevich expected to be selected in the middle rounds of the 2016 NDL Draft, is the Temple linebacker,who gets all of the attention from NFL scouts. He isn't, however, the only Owls linebacker hoping for a shot at making it in the NFL. Nate D. Smith, a linebacker/defensive end for the Owls, is also hoping for a chance to show an NFL team he can play at the next level.
Smith's path to the NFL, if he gets an opportunity at all, will likely come as an undrafted free agent, perhaps with invitations to rookie camps.
"I'm not one of the hot topics around in college football," Smith said during a recent phone interview. "I'm one of the under-the-radar guys. I'm a hard worker. I know I have a few things to work on, but who doesn't?"
Smith played in 47 games over four seasons at Temple. Playing both linebacker and defensive end last season, the 5-foot-11, 247-pound Smith had 34 tackles, 9.5 for loss, and seven sacks. Smith has an NFL pedigree as his brother, L.J. Smith, played in the league for seven seasons, from 2003-2009. The first six of those years were spent with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Let's get to know a little more about Smith.
Tell me why an NFL team should take a chance on you?
"I bring a lot of energy to the game, and people feed off that energy on the field. I give 110 percent on every play, you're not going to get anything less than that from me on the field. I just love to play football."
Describe your playing style
"Multi-layered. I can play defensive end, and you might see me at linebacker dropping back into coverage."
Does having a brother who played in the NFL give you an advantage trying to make it into the league?
"Definitely. Every day I'm asking him questions, working out with him, trying to get a competitive edge. What can I do to better myself? Cat can I do to get to the next level?"
What was your brother's best advice?
"Don't be that guy that can't get it done. If you can't get it done then you're gone. I think about that every time I step onto the field or into the weight room. That pushes me, that drives me."