“Sub-Zero’s” Time has Come
The only bigger off season retention than McKinnley Jackson this past year was Ainias Smith. Coming off a year cut tragically short by a debilitating injury in the Arkansas game, some thought that Smith, having completed his fourth year by that point, would leave Aggieland for the draft. Instead, the man who came in as an unheralded three-star prospect decided to give it one more shot in College Station. He reminded us all very quickly of his quality as a receiver, caught up as we all were with Evan Stewart and Noah Thomas in the offseason, exhibiting his ability to escape tackles and pick up huge yards after the catch time and time again. Ainias has shown that he has the juice ever since he first stepped on campus here—I remember specifically him beginning to break out against Auburn in 2019, showing not only an aptitude for getting open, but evading tacklers once he had the ball in his hand. 2020 showed his versatility, rotating into the backfield from time to time. 2021 until now have shown his growth, not only as a player but as a leader, and an all-time favorite of Aggie fans everywhere. There was no one I was happier for than Ainias when the Aggies beat Alabama, especially after hearing his story in the postgame press conference.
I think Ainias likely feels that, at the conclusion of this season, it’s time for him to head to the league. Unless the coaching hire is one that promises to bring about gargantuan offensive numbers at the receiver spot, enough to make Smith think that he could have a 1000+ or even 1200+ yard season in his role, I find it likely that Ainias has put enough on tape to go all-in on the draft. Due to his stature, I think NFL teams might take a wary approach, just as recruiting services did out of high school. But if I know one thing about Ainias, it’s that he competes and he proves his doubters wrong time and time again. He may go undrafted or get picked up in the later rounds, but he will prove his worth quickly in the league.