Louisiana Tech redshirt junior quarterback J’Mar Smith details why he likes being called a game manager.
The News Star
Their names weren’t called during the seven rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft like former teammates L’Jarius Sneed and Amik Robertson over the weekend, but a trio of Louisiana Tech football players didn’t have to wait long afterward to solidify the next steps in their careers.
Tech quarterback J’Mar Smith and defensive tackle Courtney Wallace will remain teammates as both signed with the New England Patriots as undrafted free agents Sunday evening. Former Bulldog fullback Bobby Holly earned an undrafted contract with the Los Angeles Chargers following the conclusion of the Draft.
Smith, who started the last three seasons at Louisiana Tech, finished as one of the more prolific passers in school history, throwing for 9,523 yards, third most in program history, and 51 touchdowns, fourth most by a signal caller. The Bulldogs went 25-12 with Smith as the starting quarterback and won three straight bowl games, headlined by this past December’s 14-0 victory over Miami in the Independence Bowl.
The Meridian, Mississippi, native saved his best season for last as a senior, his fifth year at the school, as he completed the highest percentage of passes during his time (236-for-367) while collecting the most touchdowns at 18. He was efficient and took care of the ball, only tossing five interceptions. Smith is following in the footsteps of his father, Kenny, who played for the Patriots in the early 2000s.
With the departure of future Hall of Fame and Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady from New England to Tampa Bay, the Pats will be ushering in a new starter at the position for the first time in decades. A solid performance in rookie minicamp and OTAs could easily land Smith a roster spot for the Tech alum. New England did sign Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke as another UDFA quarterback.
Joining Smith in Boston with the Patriots is Wallace, who had told The News-Star leading up the NFL Draft that he had plenty of conversations with the front office of the franchise prior to the weekend.
The Monroe native and former Neville star played his way into the undrafted free agent opportunity with a breakout senior season at Tech. Before the 2019 season, the defensive tackle had battled some injuries and had primarily been a backup.
In his first full season as a starter, the 6-2, 305-pounder garnered 41 tackles, including 8.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks.
It’s apparent that the Los Angeles Chargers wanted to beef up the fullback/H-Back position on their team. They signed Holly out of Louisiana Tech as well as Gabe Nabers from Florida State as undrafted free agents.
For the Farmerville native, Holly made a name for himself at Tech blocking and opening up holes in the run game. The seven passes he caught during his senior season were the most in a year for him and he had one touchdown grab. He ended his Tech career with 11 receptions for 53 yards and three scores.