Last Saturday, former Utah and NFL star Steve Smith made his first appearance at a Ute football game since leaving school 16 years ago.
Smith being Smith, he wasn’t conceding much, even in the talent area. Asked before the Arizona State-Utah game if he has noticed a change in talent since he left the program, he said, “I don’t think the talent level has changed. I think we’re getting noticed, which is good. Obviously Kyle (Whittingham) has done a great job just recruiting and understanding what they need. But we’ve also got to win the close games to be able to consistently be seen as a legitimate school and football program.”
Smith has his point. The 2000 Utes — Smith’s senior season — included Dameon Hunter, Andre Dyson and Jordan Gross, all of whom played significantly in the NFL. At the same time, Utah had eight players selected in the 2017 NFL draft.
Now a TV analyst, Smith said he didn’t offer any technical advice to Utah receivers when he spoke to them pregame, even though he is among the NFL’s most prolific receivers ever.
“No, no, no,” he said. “They’ve got some guys that can do some things.”