David Smith '22 watches countless hours of football on TV. He has to. It's homework.
A lot of high schoolers enjoy watching football, but Smith never really watched the sport - he analyzed it. He used to race home from basketball practice so he could cue up tape of a football game - with pen and pad in hand. He'd study the players, their strengths and weaknesses. He'd study the schemes, the play calling. He'd write detailed reports on free agents and recruits. He was 13 years old, and that was his idea of a good time.
"Yes, people thought it was weird. Family, teachers, everyone. But I loved it. I taught myself what to look for. I went to different websites and really learned how to break down the game. I love how technical and intricate it is."
Smith is now pursuing two degrees simultaneously: he's a sports communications major while also enrolled at The Scouting Academy. The 16-week online course taught by NFL executives and coaches teaches the nuances of professional football scouting. Each module focuses on a different position. He evaluates prospects, writes his reports, and gets graded on his analysis. Most of his Scouting Academy peers are college coaches - he's one of the few college students. NFL teams often look to hire the Scouting Academy graduates with the highest marks, but Smith has different goals.
NFL scouts are in hotel rooms, on average, 200 nights a year. Smith doesn't want that lifestyle, and he doesn't want to share his opinions with NFL executives. Instead, he wants to break down draft boards for a television audience. Smith hopes to work for the NFL Network or ESPN as a scout guru. And that's where his Siena education comes into play. Smith is taking JOUR 355, Applied Projects in Journalism, this spring. He'll have the flexibility to animate his research from the anchor desk inside the College's TV studio in Foy Hall. In fact, he can create a demo reel that he'll use to apply for on-air jobs. There is no shortage of college graduates who want to get paid to talk about football, but very few will have a dual degree in scouting.
Smith also sharpens his on-air skills at WVCR, producing and hosting his own hour-long sports talk radio show called "The Cheap Seats" - which airs weekly on Saturday nights at 6:00 p.m.
"I fell in love with draft analysis and scouting because, ever since I was little, I loved football. I really wanted to know as much as I could about the sport so I started studying it. Everything from defenses, offensive play design, route combinations, blocking schemes, etc. That turned into scouting individual players (both college and NFL) and watching tape.
I actually started to hit my stride around 17 after I got a good feel for the process and started to better understand what I was looking at. I loved the challenge of evaluating college players because I enjoyed watching and studying their tape, assessing traits, and projecting how they would adapt to the NFL and whether they could improve on their weaknesses in college."
David Smith ’22