Former North Carolina Central University defensive back Ryan Smith captured a lot of attention at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine.

In front of NFL team representatives witnessing his workouts in-person inside Lucas Oil Stadium and a national television audience watching on The NFL Network, Smith was impressive.

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In the end, Smith was listed among the “Top Performers” in six out of the seven workout categories among the 37 cornerbacks attending the combine.


During the highlight event, the 40-yard dash, Smith posted the 12th-fastest time at his position at 4.47 seconds. He also tied for third in the 60-yard shuttle (11.18 seconds), placed sixth in the three-cone drill (6.88 seconds), tied for seventh in the bench press (18 reps of 225 pounds), tied for eighth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.09 seconds), tied for 12th in the vertical jump (36.0 inches) and tied for 16th in the broad jump (122.0 inches).

Although he fell short of some of his personal goals, Smith was pleased with his performance and the overall experience.

“What a surreal moment,” said Smith. “From the time I stepped off the plane, it was a pro football experience. The plane ride, to being picked up at the airport to getting dropped off at that top-notch hotel, to meetings with all the scouts from every team as well as the coaches and general managers. I enjoyed every moment of my four-day experience at the combine.

“It’s a long process and I took full advantage of it,” he added. “All in all, it was a very humbling experience and I am grateful for the opportunity.”

Up next for Smith is the NCCU pro day on March 23.

A native of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Smith is coming off a senior season that included all-conference recognition as both a defensive back and a return specialist. 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).

During his standout NCCU career from 2012-15, Smith broke the school record for solo tackles with 168, while finishing sixth in career tackles with 263 and 11th in passes defended with 31 (seven interceptions and 24 pass break-ups).

After helping to lead the Eagles to their second straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship, Smith graduated from NCCU on Dec. 12, 2015, with a degree in criminal justice.


  1. BUZZ WRITERS – do all of your homework. There were also two SC STATE Alumns from the MEAC… TE Temarrick Hemingway, DL Javon Hargrave, also Black College All-Americans

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