Since Arizona State wrapped up its 2012 season and began looking toward 2013, a good deal of the discussion has focused on a much-anticipated crop of new wide receivers, a group expected to bolster the Sun Devils' biggest offensive weakness.
But there a few capable receivers returning, and sophomore Richard Smith may be best positioned among them to win a starting job this season.
Smith will compete with fellow returner Kevin Ozier and newcomers Jaelen Strong, Joseph Morris and Cameron Smith to be among quarterback Taylor Kelly's top targets this season. He comes in with experience, having played in all 13 games last season, including the first game of the year, in which he caught five passes for 45 yards and a touchdown.
With fall camp just a few days away, FOXSportsArizona.com caught up with Smith to get to know him better on and off the field.
FSAZ: Fall camp is almost here, so tell me about your offseason.
Smith: I worked hard, worked out a lot on my own. The main goal this summer was to gain a little weight and get stronger. I got stronger, but the weight part -- I probably only gained three or four pounds. It's hard for me to gain weight. Besides that, I was working on my hands and my routes.
FSAZ: How about away from football? What were the highlights of your summer?
Smith: Me and a couple friends went to Las Vegas for Memorial Day weekend. That was pretty fun. We were out there for a couple days, went to a couple concerts. Other than that, I just went home (to Long Beach, Calif.) a couple times to see my family, but nothing else major. It was kind of all football.
FSAZ: What kind of things do you like to do when you're not on the field or in the weight room?
Smith: When I'm not on the football field, I like to get with some friends and shoot around (on the basketball court), put up some jump shots. And I like to swim a lot. So I'll go swimming or hang at the gym all day. I'm pretty laid back.
FSAZ: I heard you've got a pretty good sense of humor. Do you consider yourself a little bit of a joker?
Smith: Depending on the situation. If things get hard, I try to make a joke out of it, try to find something funny. But I think I've got a good sense of humor. I make a lot of people laugh.
FSAZ: How else would you describe your personality?
Smith: I'm pretty chill. I'm honest with people. And I just like to make people laugh. Mainly I just like to chill and have a good time, you know, just enjoying life.
FSAZ: Other than coaches or teammates, who influenced you most growing up?
Smith: I have a lot people. My family motivates and influences me all the time, trying to get me to do the best I can do. My cousins, my uncles, everyone in my family.
FSAZ: ASU fans don't know that much about you yet, so tell me something they probably don't know.
Smith: I want to be an actor some day, after football. I watch a lot of movies and stuff, and acting just seems like a lot of fun. You're in front of the camera all the time. It just seems like a good time.
FSAZ: That's an interesting goal. Do you have any acting experience?
Smith: I don't really, but I did do a couple little skits and things in high school. So I kind of understand some of the skills of it.
FSAZ: What are you most talented at other than football?
Smith: I would say I'm pretty good at running track. And if it's not sports-related ... I can cook pretty decent. I especially like to cook chicken, like chicken alfredo. That's one of my favorite foods.
FSAZ: Let's get into the football side of things. You got to play right away last year, even scoring a touchdown in your first college game. What was that like? Did you expect that so quick?
Smith: Honestly, I expected to score. I wanted to score a lot. Everyone dreams of that. So when I scored, I was really happy. And I felt like, 'Man, these hard hits aren't the same as high school,' because guys are bigger, stronger and faster. But as the games went on, I learned to take the hits differently. So now I've adjusted and I know what it's like.
FSAZ: Now you're about to compete for a starting job in fall camp. What are your expectations for that position battle?
Smith: I just want to go hard every practice, do what the coaches tell me to do and catch everything that comes my way.
FSAZ: There's been a lot of talk about the new receivers coming in. Does that motivate you at all to show coaches you're just as capable?
Smith: You know, I don't let that bother me. When the new receivers get here -- well, they're already here -- we all play at the same school, wear the same uniform. It's not like they're different than we are (as returners). We're all just athletes trying to make it. I'll compete with whoever comes. I'm going to treat everyone the same way. I'm just ready to compete and help us win games.