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Northwestern football signing day profiles 2016: QB Aidan Smith

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Smith is the only QB expected to remain a QB in Northwestern's class of 2016.

Photo: YouTube

QUICK HITS

POSITION: Quarterback
HEIGHT: 6-2
WEIGHT: 175
HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, IN
HIGH SCHOOL: Carroll
247 COMPOSITE RATING: ★★★ (.8568)
NATIONAL RANK: 690
POSITION RANK: 28
STATE RANK: 11
OTHER OFFERS: Ball State, Boston College, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Ohio, Toledo
MORE: 247 ProfileHudlTwitter

BACKGROUND

Smith, who's from the same area as fellow class of 2016 member Ben Skowronekcommitted to Northwestern in June of 2015, a day after he received his offer. Northwestern had been targeting Anthony Brown (who chose Boston College), Deuce Wallace (who decommitted from NU and went to Vanderbilt instead) and Josh Jackson (who went on to choose Virginia Tech), but after losing out on the first two, it offered Smith to ensure it would get at least one class of 2016 quarterback. Riley Lees, another class of 2016 commit, was a quarterback in high school but is a likely candidate to switch to wide receiver.

Smith displays a pretty strong arm and good mobility in his highlights. He shows good accuracy on the move as well, making several strong downfield throws while on the run. Most of his throws are ones in which he gets the ball out of his hands quickly; he rarely looks away from his first option unless flushed from the pocket. He also makes some risky throws under duress that worked out in the highlights. Overall, though, Smith shows really good speed, arm strength and a flair for making big plays. His athleticism is obvious. Additionally — and this is no small detail — he has experience in the read option.

OUTLOOK

The quarterback position at Northwestern is somewhat stable heading into year two under Clayton Thorson. Thorson wasn't overly impressive in his first year leading the team (to put it nicely), but he was the signal caller for a 10-win team in his inaugural season. There's no reason to believe he won't improve as a sophomore, and his spot as a starter is unquestioned. Behind him sit Matt Alviti and some walk-ons, including T.J. Green, son of former NFL quarterback Trent Green. Unless something completely unexpected happens, expect Smith to redshirt. And unless Clayton Thorson struggles or suffers an injury, don't expect to see Smith until his junior year.