One of three Mountaineers on The Sports Network’s official watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented to the nation’s top FCS defensive player ... the latest in a long line of standout linebackers at ASU, which also includes Rico Mack, Dexter Coakley, Justin Seaverns, Pierre Banks and Jacque Roman ... talent and accomplishments have perhaps been overshadowed to this point in his career due to playing alongside veteran stars in Banks and Roman ... is perhaps the most physically gifted of the latest triumvirate of Mountaineer linebacking standouts, boasting terrific speed, power and athleticism to go along with an NFL-ready 6-1, 235-pound frame ... is a sure tackler and with the ability to rush the passer and stuff the run ... has the ability to cover tight ends, running backs and even wide receivers in pass coverage ... is expected to add to his string of 37-consecutive starts at weakside linebacker this season, a starting assignment that he has held since midway through his freshman campaign ... comes into his final season already ranked seventh in school history with 381 career tackles and on pace to become only the second Mountaineer to ever tally 500 stops in a career (Coakley is the only ASU player that has currently reached the 500-tackle plateau) ... his 381 tackles are the second-most among active NCAA Division I FCS players entering the season, behind only 386 by Scott Lewis from St. Francis (Pa.).
2009: Was recognized by many observers as the top defender on a unit that included Buck Buchanan Award finalist Mark LeGree and former Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year Jacque Roman ... collected first-team all-America recognition from The Sports Network and first-team all-conference accolades from the league’s coaches and media ... led squad and tied for first in the SoCon and second nationally with 137 total tackles (60 solo, 77 assists) ... led ASU in tackles seven times, including each of the first four games of the year ... tallied no few than six tackles in each game and recorded double-digit stops six times ... also topped squad and ranked second in conference and tied for 25th nationally with 14.5 total tackles for loss ... two sacks were tied for fourth on squad ... led team with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries ... eight pass break-ups were second-most on the team ... opened season with 13 tackles at East Carolina ... three weeks later, helped ASU to pivotal win over Samford with a career-high 17 tackles, including one-and-a-half for loss and a sack, two quarterback hurries and two pass break-ups ... earned SoCon and national Defensive Player of the Week recognition for 17-tackle effort versus SU ... 17 stops were the most by a Mountaineer since Roman recorded 20 in win over James Madison in opening round of 2007 NCAA Division I Football Championship ... followed up 17-tackle effort against Samford with 10 stops in overtime victory at The Citadel ... had two tackles for loss in wins North Carolina Central, Georgia Southern and Chattanooga ... wreaked havoc in the takeaway department during a four-game stretch in the middle of the season ... recovered fumbles in wins over Wofford and Georgia Southern ... forced a fumble at Furman ... intercepted a pass on the opening series versus UTC, which he returned 34 yards to the one yard line to set up a one-yard touchdown drive that gave ASU a 7-0 lead ... notched 15 tackles (one behind the line of scrimmage) to help pace 27-10 win at Elon in de facto SoCon championship game ... had double-digit tackles in 2-of-3 NCAA Division I Football Championship tilts ... recorded 10 stops, including a season-best 2.5 for loss, in quarterfinal triumph at Richmond ... led all players with 14 tackles in national semifinals at Montana.
2008: Ranked second on the team and in the SoCon and 12th nationally with 123 tackles on the season ... despite the gaudy numbers, only received second-team all-conference recognition from the league’s coaches and media and did not receive even an honorable-mention all-America nod ... reached double-figure tackles five times in 14 games, beginning with 11 in the season opener at LSU and closing with averaging 15 tackles per game in two postseason contests ... ironically, he put up some of his best numbers in losses, as three of his five double-digit-tackle efforts came in losses (11 at LSU, 10 at James Madison, 14 vs. Richmond) ... turned in arguably his best performance of the regular season at Samford with 16 tackles, 12 of which were solo ... was named the SoCon’s Defensive Player of the Week following the strong showing in Alabama ... his finest effort of the year came in the first round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship versus South Carolina State, when he matched the season-high 16 stops and added one-and-a-half tackles for loss, a quarterback hurry and a pass break-up.
2007: Turned in a spectacular season as a true freshman ... finished second on the squad and fourth in the SoCon with 121 total tackles (47 solo), despite not winning the starting position at weakside linebacker from incumbent starter Cam Speer until the seventh game of the season ... tackles were the most by an ASU freshman since Dexter Coakley recorded 159 in 1993 ... notched double-digit tackles in 5-of-9 starts ... did not record less than seven tackles in any of his nine starts ... named November’s SoCon Defensive Player of the Month after leading ASU in tackles (49), interceptions (2) and pass break-ups (3) in four games during the month ... in just his second-career game, came off the bench to lead all players with 12 tackles versus Lenoir-Rhyne ... in his third start, turned in the best performance by an ASU freshman linebacker in 14 years with 16 tackles (13 solo) and returned his first-career interception 23 yards for a touchdown early in the ballgame to help lead ASU to a crucial 45-24 victory at The Citadel ... 16 tackles were the most in a single-game by an ASU frosh since Coakley’s 21 against The Citadel in ‘93 ... added one-and-a-half tackles for loss against The Citadel and matched that total the following week against archrival Western Carolina ... also intercepted a pass against WCU ... earned SoCon Defensive Player of the Week recognition after tallying a game-high 14 tackles and breaking up two passes in regular-season finale versus Chattanooga ... registered 12 tackles and broke up a pass in each of ASU’s first two postseason victories over James Madison and Eastern Washington ... broke up two passes versus Richmond in national semifinals ... capped impressive freshman campaign with 10 tackles in national championship game versus Delaware ... in all, led ASU in tackles six times, including 3-of-4 postseason games (Lenoir-Rhyne, The Citadel, Chattanooga, Eastern Washington, Richmond, Delaware) ... tied for third on squad with 11 pass break-ups.
High School: A three-year starter and four-year letterwinnner at Charlotte Independence, which went undefeated and won four-straight 4-A state championships during Smith’s prep career ... ranked second on the team in tackles as a senior, playing both middle and outside linebacker ... named team MVP in ‘06 ... a two-time all-state and three-time all-conference selection ... also lettered in basketball ... coached by Tom Knotts.
Personal: Full name is Darryl Devon Smith Jr. ... goes by D.J. ... born Feb. 24, 1989 (21 years old) ... son of Pamela Rice ... majoring in accounting.