Pack tries CB Rashard Smith on offense

Staff writerSeptember 1, 2011 

With N.C. State's surplus of defensive backs and shallow reserve of receivers, sophomore cornerback Rashard Smith has a new home.

Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien called it a "logical" decision to give Smith, one of the team's best athletes, a chance to get on the field as a wide receiver.

"We play six wide receivers," O'Brien said Wednesday on the ACC teleconference. "This gets him an opportunity and us an opportunity to get another athlete on the field."

As a freshman two years ago, Smith started three games at cornerback and recorded 12 tackles and a sack in five games. He redshirted the 2010 season with a knee injury.

State has to replace its top two receivers from last year and three of its top four pass-catchers. Seniors T.J. Graham, who had 25 catches last year for 316 yards, and Jay Smith are expected to start against Liberty on Saturday.

How much Smith, a former prep star at quarterback, will play on Saturday is unclear. Steven Howard and Tobais Palmer are also listed on the depth chart, which leaves two spots in the regular receiver rotation.

Smith had already impressed the coaching staff with ability to return punts.

"He's still learning, but he has shown the ability that he does a lot of things natural at that position," O'Brien said. or 919-829-8938

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