On Tuesday, Smith was out at West High with coaches and scouts from the Oakland Raiders, who ran him through combine-style drills at Steve Lopez Stadium.
The stadium was under construction when Smith was a senior at West, but just being on campus to show off his skills to pro scouts was a milestone in his football career.
“It feels good. It brings back a lot of memories,” he said Tuesday after the workout.
Smith is a 6-foot, 192-pound senior cornerback at Azusa Pacific University, where the Cougars just completed a 10-2 season. They had a 9-1 record and won the conference title in the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Raiders Hall of Fame defensive back and team ambassador Willie Brown, who is with the team’s personnel department, said his friend Willis Hill, Smith’s grandfather, gave him a call.
“He told me about his grandson, so I started looking at tapes on him,” Brown said, adding that he could see Smith was worth a closer look. “We’re putting him through some drills to see if he can do the things we need him to do.
“I like his size. He has some pretty good athletic abilities. We’ll see how he pans out with the other guys.”
Brown said that, come draft day, the Raiders will have Smith and 15 other cornerbacks to consider.
Smith, 23, said the Raiders are the first team to contact him, but he hopes to connect with more teams as the draft approaches.
“I feel like this will bring out a lot more interest in other teams to look at me,” he said. “It’s just like the beginning of everything.”
Smith played at San Joaquin Delta College for two years before he transferred to Azusa Pacific in 2010 and worked his way onto the Cougars’ starting roster.
His father, Louis Smith, who came out with other family members to watch the workout, said connecting with the Raiders brought his son a step closer to his goal.
“This was his childhood dream since he was 3 or 4 years old,” Louis Smith said. “They set up this great day for him to work out and access his dream.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at email@example.com or 830-4227.