Get to know Geno Smith a little better

Our NFL writing staff takes a crack at the big names in the NFL draft each April, and colleague Elizabeth Merrill profiled West Virginia star Geno Smith on Wednesday. There's lots of interesting notes from the road from Smith's childhood to a likely first-round NFL draft pick.

Here's a short excerpt from the bigger piece:

Under Dana Holgorsen's "Air Raid" offense, a system that lends itself to gaudy numbers, Smith threw for 4,205 yards in 2012 and had 42 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He amassed more than 8,500 passing yards in his final two years at West Virginia.

But when it was over, after a 38-14 loss to Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29, Smith sat dejected on the bus back to the hotel while Spavital tried to tell him what he had meant to West Virginia. Smith didn't appear to be listening.

"Man, I thought I was playing pretty well," Smith told him. "But going 7-6 makes me feel like I did nothing this year."

Spavital, who's now at Texas A&M, has coached Brandon Weeden and Case Keenum. Spavital says Smith is more prepared for the NFL than any other quarterback he has coached. Smith will surprise people, he said, in part because he can do so many things he wasn't asked to do the last two seasons at West Virginia.

Good stuff. I only covered West Virginia for the past year, but spent a decent amount of time around and reading about Smith. I still learned a ton in Merrill's piece. Check it out.