Lecitus Smith was one of three tight ends to sign with Virginia Tech in their 2017 class but unlike the other two tight ends in the class, Smith was considered more of a blocking tight end who had the size to move over to the offensive line if things didn't work out at TE.
While the Hokies pursued him as a tight end, his highlight tape suggested that his best future could be on the offensive line with his blocking skills and mobility around the line of scrimmage being ahead of his receiving skills. In addition, a blocking tight end didn't appear to have a clear role in a Justin Fuente offense that either uses tight ends in an h-back role or as a slot receiver.
Not long after his arrival in Blacksburg, Lecitus Smith made the move from tight end to offensive line, guaranteeing his redshirt during the 2017 season. Fortunately, Smith brought a solid base for a non-offensive lineman to the position especially because of how he was used as a blocking tight end, and pulled at times to be a lead blocker like an offensive guard would be.
While Smith did still have the big challenge of learning a new position, the Georgian also had the challenge of bulking up to a size befitting of a collegiate offensive lineman. However, Smith always had a natural frame for an offensive line and after fighting to stay at a good weight for a blocking tight end, his move to the offensive line gave him the freedom to fill out his frame.
"Lecitus [Smith] is a guy who came in as a TE and was fighting to stay at 280 pounds. So, finally, we told him to quit fighting it. Like a lot of us, just let yourself go, buddy. Almost overnight he got to his natural weight and started gaining weight," Justin Fuente said.
Since then, Smith has put on the necessary weight to be an offensive guard putting on over 30 pounds since his arrival to become a 6'3'', 313-pound guard at the start of fall camp. However, Smith's development has gone beyond filling out his natural offensive line frame to impressing Justin Fuente with his on-the-field development since moving inside.
"Obviously, he was going to move inside. But that’s a big difference between playing guard and playing tight end. But I’ve been impressed with his talent, he’s a big strong, young kid and is really athletic. Hopefully, he continues to improve and work on his craft every day. He’s really matured in the last year or so," Fuente said.
Looking ahead, Smith seems likely to be the backup left guard behind fellow Georgia D'Andre Plantin on the Hokies' two-deep. While Smith still has plenty of work ahead to cement his spot in the two-deep, the redshirt freshman also has the opportunity to earn some playing time as the backup along with backup left tackle Christian Darrisaw according to Vance Vice.
"“I’m super, super excited about those guys. There is definitely an opportunity for them right now. As soon as September 3rd, but they need to get better every day. They are pushing some people right now and those guys in front of them are well aware of who they are. I’ve had them working together on the left [side], but they have everything it takes to be successful at Virginia Tech. The only thing that they lack is experience, that’s it," Vance Vice said.
Lecitus Smith may not have had any experience playing along the offensive line before his arrival at Virginia Tech, but the redshirt freshman is poised to play this fall for the Hokies a year after changing positions.
Photo Credit: Trey Hamby
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