Texas State wide receiver Brandon Smith burst on the scene as a freshman in 2012.
Smith, a product of Prattville High in Alabama, started nearly every game for the Bobcats, including the season opener against the University of Houston. In 11 games, Smith hauled in 21 catches for 226 yards (10.8 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. Later in the season, he turned into one of quarterback Shaun Rutherford’s more reliable targets.
Many expect Smith to be Texas State’s biggest target in 2013, the team’s first year in the Sun Belt Conference. That is, if Smith would still be with the Bobcats.
Smith didn’t return to spring camp after spring break and left many to think he decided to transfer. As it turns out, Smith felt a tinge of homesickness during the break and head coach Dennis Franchione wanted to make sure his heart was still in San Marcos.
“Probably every freshman that played this game, at some point in time, thinks about not playing at the school they’re at,” Franchione said. “He’s not the first one to go through that this semester. We asked him to take a leave of absence to think things over and to not leave the team.”
Smith returned to practice Thursday afternoon and reeled in several passes, including a 14-yard catch over soon-to-be senior cornerback Xavier Daniels on third-and-12 off a throw by soon-to-be senior quarterback Tyler Arndt.
“(Brandon) is welcome back and we understand there are some things in your life that lead to leave of absences,” Franchione said. “Quitting is more final.”
It’s a good thing Smith is back. He’ll have a bigger role in 2013.
“We’ve re-orchestrated some formations to put him in positions to be the primary target,” Franchione said. “We need him.”