10 Essential Bulls: Hugh Smith
As we look forward to the 2014 USF Football season, we’ll spend part of the summer looking back with the Voice of the Bulls Jim Louk. Louk has compiled his list of the 10 most influential Bulls in program history. As the radio voice for Bulls football since its inception in 1997, Louk has personally witnessed every game in the program's history and worked closely with coaches and players. Yet, his list may not line up perfectly with yours. Discussion and debate is welcome. Join the discussion by sending your list or feedback to @USFJimLouk and use the hashtag #USF10.
We’ll list these 10 players in no particular order in the coming weeks leading up to 2014 USF training camp. Selected players may or may not have huge statistics or have been a part of the big plays we all remember. But, because of their talent, their effort or even their timing, they influenced the USF program greatly during our first 17 years of football.
By JIM LOUK
Voice of the Bulls
TAMPA - Hugh Smith caught his 131st and final pass for USF nearly 12 years ago. He remains somewhat of an enigma, but he deserves a spot on this list even as Andre Davis waits in the wings to re-write the USF receiving record book this fall.
Smith had good speed, but his best attribute was his hands. If a ball was in the vicinity, pure and simple, he would catch it.
He came to the Bulls as a running back from Merritt Island in 1999. His breakout year as a wide receiver came in 2001 when he made 40 receptions. In 2002, his 62 receptions set a single-season USF mark that still stands today. Even with Davis bearing down on the record book, Smith is USF’s all-time leader in receptions and remains in the top five in receiving yards.
So, why isn’t he better known to USF fans? Smith wasn’t a terribly vocal guy, and if I had a word to describe his work on the field, it might be methodical. He wasn’t particularly explosive, averaging 11.6 yards per catch in his career. His era didn’t feature Twitter, Instagram, or any of today’s omnipresent social media. And he often lined up alongside DeAndrew Rubin, the speed burner that many recognize as the big play receiver of that era.
Yet, he excelled during a great time in USF Football history. Although he was never a part of a conference team, the success he helped the Bulls to in 2001 and 2002 certainly led the way to Conference USA membership. He had 10 career receiving touchdowns, four 100-yard receiving games, and more than 1,500 receiving yards.
You’ll most likely hear his name a bit in the 2014 season if and when Andre Davis breaks his remaining records. If you do, remember Hugh Smith as a dependable, consistent and hard-working wide receiver, who made all the plays he needed to make in order to help his team rise out of independent status.
USF returns 16 starters (10 offense, 4 defense, 2 specialists) for Willie Taggart's second season at the helm, which kicks off on Aug. 30 vs. Western Carolina at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls 2014 non-conference schedule features home clashes vs. Big Ten foe Maryland (Sept. 6) and ACC opponent N.C. State (Sept. 13) as well as a road game at perennial Big Ten power Wisconsin (Sept. 27). USF will welcome UConn (Fri., Sept. 19), East Carolina (Sat., Oct. 11), Houston (Sat., Nov. 1) and UCF (Fri., Nov. 28) to Raymond James in American Athletic Conference action.
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