Smith with the Minnesota Vikings in 2015
|No. 22 - Minnesota Vikings|
|Born:||February 2, 1989|
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||214 lb (97 kg)|
|High school:||Knoxville Catholic|
|NFL Draft:||2012 / Round: 1 / Pick: 29|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2019|
Harrison Smith (born February 2, 1989) is an American football safety for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. He was drafted in the first round, 29th overall of the 2012 NFL Draft. He played college football for Notre Dame.
In 2017, Smith was graded the 3rd best player in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. His season grade of 98.8 was also the highest among safeties in Pro Football Focus history. He was named to his third straight Pro Bowl on January 22, 2018 and was named first team All-Pro. He followed with a 4th consecutive Pro Bowl in 2019 and second team All-Pro.
Smith attended Knoxville Catholic High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. In his senior season, he gained 1,340 yards rushing to go with 19 touchdowns, caught 23 passes for 453 yards and six touchdowns, and also made 61 tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions, and caused two fumbles on defense. He was named Gatorade Football Player of the Year in Tennessee in 2006.
In addition to football, Smith also played basketball and ran track. In track, he competed primarily as a jumper. He won the state meet in the high jump 1.98 meters (6.5 ft) and the decathlon, scoring 6,230 points. He had a career-best leap of 2.03 meters (6.8 ft) in the high jump. He also had personal-best jumps of 6.54 meters (21 ft 5 in) in long jump and 14.15 meters (46 ft 5 in) in triple jump.
Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, he was listed as the No. 25 athlete in the nation. Many scouts believed he could play offense or defense in college. He chose Notre Dame over offers from Tennessee, Auburn, and Alabama.
After red-shirting as a freshman in 2007, he emerged as a star in 2008. He began his career at linebacker. In his first year, he started 9 games and recorded 57 tackles, which included 8.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks. As a junior in 2009, he started 6 games at strong safety, then strongside linebacker for the final 6 games. He recorded 69 tackles including 6.5 tackles for loss. In 2010, as a senior, he played strong safety where he recorded 93 tackles including a team-high 7 interceptions. In 2011, he was accepted to a graduate program at Notre Dame allowing him to play another season. In his final year in 2011, serving as team captain, he played in and started in all 13 games. He recorded 90 tackles including 3 tackles for loss.
|Regular season statistics||Tackles||Interceptions||Fumbles|
Coming out of Notre Dame, Harrison was projected by the majority of analysts to be a first round draft selection. He was ranked the second best strong safety, behind Alabama's Mark Barron, and the 46th best prospect by NFLDraftScout.com. He was invited to attend the 2012 NFL Combine as a free safety and completed the entire workout and every positional drill. Smith was satisfied enough with his combine performance that he chose to only partake in positional drills at Notre Dame's Pro Day. He received positive reviews from analysts and scouts for his size, athletic ability, play recognition, intelligence, tackling ability, reaction time, consistency, and production. He mainly received negative reviews on his man to man coverage ability.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP|
|6 ft in
|10 ft 2 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
On April 26, 2012, the Minnesota Vikings drafted Smith in the first round (29th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft after trading up with the Baltimore Ravens. On May 31, 2012, the Minnesota Vikings signed Smith to a four-year, $7.13 million contract with $5.78 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $3.63 million.
He entered training camp competing with Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo to be the Minnesota Vikings' free safety. Smith was named the starting free safety to begin the regular season. He made his professional regular season debut and first career start in the Vikings' season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He finished the 26-23 victory with seven combined tackles. During the Week 5 matchup against the Tennessee Titans, Smith was ejected for moving an official out of the way; the Vikings still won, 30-7. On October 21, 2012, Smith made six combined tackles and a pass deflection, and made his first career interception off of John Skelton for a 31-yard touchdown. It was his first career touchdown and sealed the 21-14 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The following game, he made a season-high 13 combined tackles in a 36-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On December 9, 2012, he recorded seven total tackles and intercepted Jay Cutler's pass and returned it for a 52-yard touchdown in a 21-14 victory over the Chicago Bears. The next game, Smith had a season-high nine solo tackles and an assisted tackle during a 36-22 win over the St. Louis Rams. In a Week 16 matchup against the Houston Texans, he decided seven solo tackles and made his first career sack on Matt Schaub, as the Vikings routed the Texans, 23-6.
He returned as the starting free safety the following season. In the season-opener against the Detroit Lions, Smith made a season-high ten combined tackles and deflected a pass as the Vikings lost 34-24. The following week, he recorded eight solo tackles and intercepted Jay Cutler for his first of the season. The Minnesota Vikings went on to lose to the Chicago Bears 31-30. In a Week 3 contest against the Cleveland Browns, Smith racked up five solo tackles and intercepted Brian Hoyer in a 31-27 loss to the Browns. On October 18, 2013, Smith was placed on injured-reserve after suffering an injury to his left foot during a Week 6 loss to the Carolina Panthers. On December 14, 2013, after missing 8 games, Smith was activated to the 53-man roster. The next day, he played in his first game since returning and made eight combined tackles in a 48-30 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Smith started only seven games in the 2013 season due to his foot injury and made 58 combined tackles and two interceptions.
He resumed as the starting free safety under new head coach Mike Zimmer. In the season-opener against the St. Louis Rams, Smith made two solo tackles, a pass deflection, a sack, and scored an 81-yard touchdown after intercepting Shaun Hill in the 34-6 victory. On November 2, 2014, he recorded a season-high ten solo tackles in a 29-26 win over the Washington Redskins. In a Week 11 contest, Smith recorded three solo tackles, a pass deflection, and intercepted Jay Cutler during a 21-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. The next game, he deflected a pass, made five solo tackles, and assisted on five tackles, tying his season-high of ten combined tackles in a 24-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He started all 16 games and finished his first year under head coach Mike Zimmer with 92 combined tackles, nine deflected passes, three sacks, five interceptions, and a touchdown.
In the seasons opener, he recorded a season-high nine combined tackles in a 20-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The next game, Smith made a season-high six solo tackles in a 26-16 win over the Detroit Lions. On October 4, 2015, he made three combines tackles and made his first interception of the season off of Peyton Manning in a 23-20 loss to the Denver Broncos. On December 27, 2015, Smith racked up five combined tackles, intercepted Eli Manning, and returned it for a 35-yard touchdown, as the Vikings routed the New York Giants, 49-17. He set a Minnesota Vikings' franchise record with four interceptions returned for touchdowns in a career. Smith started 13 games for the Vikings in the 2015 season and missed Weeks 12, 14, and 15 due to a knee injury. He finished the season with 66 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, and a touchdown.
In the Vikings' season-opener against the Tennessee Titans, he made eight total tackles in a 25-16 victory. On September 25, 2016, Smith recorded seven combined tackles and sacked Cam Newton for his first of the season, in a 22-10 win against the Carolina Panthers. In a Week 11 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, Smith recorded a season-high ten combined tackles and sacked Carson Palmer in a 30-24 victory. Smith missed Weeks 14 and 15 with a high ankle sprain that was initially thought to possibly be a season-ending injury that required surgery. On December 24, 2016, he returned in a 38-25 loss to the Green Bay Packers and made four solo tackles. He finished the season with 91 tackles, two sacks, and two deflected passes in 14 starts. This was the first season in his career he did not record an interception.
On December 20, 2016, the NFL announced that Smith and fellow Vikings Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson had been voted to the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl. This was his second consecutive Pro Bowl but first as a first-team member. He was ranked 74th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.
Smith was graded the 3rd best player in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. His season grade of 98.8 was also the highest among safeties in Pro Football Focus history. He was named to his third straight Pro Bowl on January 22, 2018 and was named first team All-Pro. He was also nominated for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He was ranked 46th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.
In Week 1, Smith recorded one interception, a sack, and a touchdown saving fumble recovery to go along with 7 tackles in dominant 24-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers, earning him NFC Defensive Player of the Week. In week 5, Smith helped the Vikings to victory against the Philadelphia Eagles with 4 tackles and a big hit late in the 4th quarter to prevent a third-down conversion by the Eagles. Week 7 saw the Vikings travel to New York to take on the Jets, Smith had an interception returned for 52 yards to go along with 2 passes defended and 4 tackles, to lead the Vikings to a 37-17 win. Smith was selected to a 4th straight Pro Bowl as well as being selected 2nd team All-Pro after another stellar season for the Minnesota Vikings.