12 Til Kickoff: Torrey Smith's Record-Breaking Campaign

Nah, I'm just kidding. Kinda.

You get it. I like Torrey Smith. Not quite at man-crush levels, but I'm a Torrey Smith fan. And yes, I think he's a tad on the underrated side. After all, this (and what's above) is my handiwork, and I spent plenty of long, hard hours (er...minutes) working on them.

Yeah, Smith's one of the few proven bright spots on this team. He's a kickoff return fool, a surprising weapon in the passing game, charismatic and a good face of the program: all that happened with Chris Turner, who for all his strengths probably had a broken arm last year, and James Franklin, who for all his strengths probably isn't the world's greatest play-caller. Oh yeah, and he had a legitimately terrible (by his standards) second half of the year, and still ended up with Maryland's most productive season ever. I think he's in for a big year.

And Smith has received a little bit of national recognition, though not nearly as much as I'd like. He's been a constant mention in any Maryland preview, received All-ACC honors, and was even on two award watch lists: the Biletnikoff and the Paul Hornung.

But what far too few people know about Smith is just how close he is to making history...and making it big.

I've mentioned a few times that by the end of the year, Smith will likely hold a half dozen records or so. But let's take a closer look at just how close he is to holding a few:

Maryland Career Kickoff Return Yardage

He already has it, after only two years. Yeah, that's both 1) how good he is, and 2) how little Maryland's had in the way of dynamic kickoff returners in the past. Just imagine how big the gap will be after this year.

Maryland Single-Season Kickoff Return Yardage

Did you really need to guess? Torrey holds both #1 and #2.

Maryland Single-Season All-Purpose Yardage

Yeah, he set that last year, blowing by Lamont Jordan's junior season record. And like I said, his productivity was halfed in the second games. Halfed. His final number could've been waaaaay higher, and that's scary.

Maryland Career All-Purpose Yardage

Leader: 4960 (Lamont Jordan, 1997-2000)
Torrey:  3617 (5th)

That seems like a big gap, but it's really not. Even in his freshman year, he notched 1425 yards, which would be enough to threaten Jordan's grip. Last year, thanks to an increased role in the passing game, he had a crazy 2197 all-purpose yards, which was the best year for Maryland...ever. That would get him over Jordan by the eighth game of this season if he could put up yards at the same rate.

Maryland Career Receptions

Leader: 193 (Jermaine Lewis, 1992-1995)
Torrey: 85 (16th)

Obviously, this one won't be as easy to grasp, and in fact would call for one of the best receiving seasons of all time - by NCAA standards, not Maryland's - to pass Lewis in one year. But if he stays until his senior season, Lewis' record will be well within reach. If he put up 60 catches per year - one less than he did last year - over the next two seasons, he'd have 205 receptions for his career; which would give Smith 12 recs over Lewis and another Terp record.

ACC Career Kickoff Return Yardage

Leader: 2688 (Brandon Tate, UNC, 2005-2008)
Torrey:  2398 (3rd)

If Smith's history is any indication, he should wrap this one up within the third game. There aren't any other active threats, with T.J. Graham of N.C. State the only other active player all the way down at 20th on the list (and he's the same class as Smith).

NCAA Career Kickoff Return Yardage

Leader: 2945 (Jessie Henderson, SMU, 2005-2008)
Torrey: 2398

Seems pretty easy, right? All Smith needs to do is produce at the same rate he did last year, and he'll have the record by his sixth game or so. That's pretty amazing: before Henderson broke the record in his senior year by a few yards, that record had stood for over a decade, nearly 15 years.

But he has competition. Damaris Johnson of Tulsa is the only active player with more kickoff return yardage than Torrey Smith, and he - like Torrey - is a junior. Johnson leads Smith by 115 total yards, or roughly 9.6 yards per game. That's easily attainable, but Johnson holds the upper hand in the race for the record.

The bad news is that Johnson isn't a threat to leave early, at least on the surface, so if Torrey decides to head out, he'll be ceding the record. And considering how long it stood originally, Jackson's name would stand in the record books for awhile.

Okay, we finished? It's obvious that Smith's not only one of the most productive players in Maryland's history, but one of the most productive ever. He's had a lot of attempts, yes, but he's done a lot with them.

So I'll quietly wait for Torrey to start getting mentions on ESPN and in Sports Illustrated. Until then, I'll content myself with the occasional Heisman candidacy poster. Hell, at this point I'll settle for the Hornung, even though no one really knows what that is.

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