NORFOLK, Va. – North Carolina Central’s Ryan Smith became the second student-athlete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) to be drafted in the 2016 National Football League (NFL) Draft. The 6-foot-0, 190-pound defensive back was selected in the fourth round, with the 108th pick, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Smith becomes the first player selected from North Carolina Central since 2007 when defensive tackle Greg Patterson was taken in the fifth round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Also, Smith becomes the first Eagle player selected in the fourth round since 1977 when Darius Helton was chosen with the 95th pick by the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Upper Marlboro, Maryland native capped his standout NCCU tenure from 2012-15 with a school career record 168 solo tackles, while finishing sixth in career tackles with 263 and 11th in passes defended with 31 (seven interceptions and 24 pass break-ups).
As a senior, he ranked third in MEAC with team-best 11 passes defended (two interceptions and nine pass break-ups), while adding 52 tackles (38 solo). Smith also led conference and ranked 10th in the nation with an average of 28.1 yards per kickoff return (14 for 394 yards, 1 TD).
Smith joins South Carolina State’s Javon Hargrave as the first two MEAC student-athletes selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. Hargrave was chosen in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.