For the 2nd straight year Florida Atlantic will be represented in the NFL Draft, as defensive back D'Joun Smith was selected in the 3rd Round with the 65th pick by the Indianapolis Colts.
Smith's pick comes as no surprise, with plenty of fanfare leading up until the event. Scouts, media figures, and even former NFL head coaches weighed in on the speedy corner with high marks of praise.
"When it is time to crack and replace, Smith replaces," ESPN analyst and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers skipper Jon Gruden said. "He will knock your running back down."
Smith's junior season with the Owls, which offered 20 passes defended (2nd nationally) and seven interceptions (3rd nationally), put him on the map and attention never waned therafter. That performance also saw him voted Most Valuable Player by fellow teammates and coaches.
With teams opting to stay away from the speedy Miami native in 2014, Smith (photo left) was still able to showcase his speed and agility by racking up 447 yards in kick-off duties during his senior campaign behind 17 returns.
Having had to play under four different head coaches and three different position coaches, his ride at Florida Atlantic wasn't as smooth as he had hoped for, and initially he wasn't even sure if FAU would pay off for him from an exposure standpoint.
"I felt like God had a plan, because at the time I felt like 'you go to FAU it's going to be difficult for you to get an opportunity'. Then I had a miraculous junior year, and now the scouts are looking at you and it's all so surreal", said Smith during an interview with Orlando Alzugaray on Monday.
Smith graduated from FAU with a bachelors degree in communications on Friday in FAU's last ceremony of the day, something that he places a significant amount of value on.
"It's very important to me because that's something they can't take away from you", Smith said. "Eventually your football career is going to be over, but your degree is still going to be there and it puts you in a position to excel."
Of note, the completion of commencement requirements was done while performing a delicate balancing act; one which commanded the blending of intense training for the combine, draft, and pro day.
Smith joins Rusty Smith, 6th Round Tennessee Titans (2009), Rob Housler 3rd Round Arizona Cardinals (2010), Alfred Morris 7th Round Washington Redskins (2012), Keith Reaser, 5th Round San Francisco 49ers (2014), and Randell Johnson 7th Round Buffalo Bills (2014), as fellow former Owls who were chosen for the highest level of play the game of football has to offer.
Florida Atlantic has seen a player garner at least free agency every year since 2004.