Deadspin’s Lowsman Trophy Watch recognizes defenders, linemen and other dark horses in college football who won’t win the Heisman Trophy. It’s designated for the game’s best players with little to no recognition from the SportsCenter coverage, highlight packages and Heisman discussion. It’s for the guys not named Johnny Manzeil, Tajh Boyd, Teddy Bridgewater, or Braxton Miller. You know the type.
This week, Kentucky defensive end Za’Darius Smith caught Deadspin’s eye with his three-sack performance against Miami. He makes the list with a defensive tackle from Michigan State, BYU’s offensive line, a BYU linebacker, a defensive tackle from Florida, a linebacker from Miami, a cornerback from Washington State, and this week’s Outsider of the Week, New Mexico running back Kasey Carrier.
Here is what Deadspin had to say about Za’Darius:
ZA’DARIUS SMITH – DE, Kentucky.
Smith, a junior college transfer playing in just his second game, lived up to his four-star recruiting hype by recording three of the Wildcats’ six sacks against Miami (Ohio), making him the most dominant player in a dominating, 41—7 rout that snapped a 10-game losing streak against FBS opponents. As a team, Kentucky held the RedHawks to 122 total yards — the fewest its yielded to an FBS offense this century, or that Miami has gained — and did not allow consecutive first downs on any drive. Miami’s only points came on a fumble recovery/return by its own defense.
So, yes, Miami is only a random MAC also-ran. In this case, after allowing 35 points in an opening day loss to Western Kentucky, you take the positives where you can get them. Especially when your next game is against Teddy Bridgewater.
Za’Darius 4 Lowsman.