Cogdell defends former Miramar star QB Smith


Miramar High coach Damon Cogdell said Pro Football Weekly’s unflattering report on Geno Smith, his former QB, was “cowardly.”

Geno Smith’s high school football coach at Miramar, Damon Cogdell, has fired back at Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki for a scouting report on the first quarterback projected to be taken in the NFL Draft that Cogdell said lacks credibility and is filled with personal attacks.

Nawrocki wrote, among other things, that the former West Virginia record-setting quarterback does not command respect from teammates, has a marginal work ethic and is a “gimmick, overhyped product of the system lacking the football savvy, work habits and focus to cement a starting job and could drain energy from a QB room.”

“I thought all that talk was almost hilarious, a comedy show,” Cogdell said. “This kid is the first one into workouts and the last one to leave. Even from his Optimist days. Geno even started a couple games as a freshman. How much more competitive do you need? I don’t know if Nawrocki is trying to get some notoriety. I couldn’t believe the comments.”

Hub Arkush, the editor and publisher of Pro Football Weekly, defended the sources used to form Nawrocki’s assessment.

“From our position, this is a scouting report,” Arkush said. “It is the accumulation of what we have witnessed ourselves on tape and what we have been told by the numerous scouts who have scouted [Smith], some of the coaches that have worked with him and some of the players that have played with him. It is unfortunate that nobody has focused on the positives listed on him.”

Under Cogdell’s wide-open passing attack, Smith threw for a combined 5,289 yards and 55 touchdowns his junior and senior seasons at Miramar High School and earned Parade All-American honors.

On ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday, Stephen J. Smith made an open invitation for Nawrocki to explain his position before rebuking Nawrocki’s assessment of the quarterback.

Before the 2011 draft, Nawrocki infamously critiqued Cam Newton for his “fake smile” and being a “fraud” and a “con artist” despite never meeting the eventual No. 1 overall pick. According to Cogdell, Nawrocki wrote about Geno Smith’s character and work ethic without ever speaking to Cogdell.

“That report was very cowardly,” Cogdell said. “I don’t think that was the right way to do things. There were a lot of guys he should have spoken to to find out about Geno’s leadership and character.

“I don’t know what Nawrocki’s intentions were. It’s kind of sad a person would even do that. I saw nothing but Geno striving for perfection. He is a student of the game and very critical of himself.”

Smith threw for 4,205 yards last season for West Virginia and led the nation with 42 touchdown passes.

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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