Brandon Smith probably didn’t expect a call from the Panthers at No. 120 overall. The Washington Commanders were next on the clock and the Panthers weren’t supposed to pick until the fifth round.
Then, Scott Fitterer traded up. Carolina drafted Smith to fill a need at linebacker, counting on his quickness and athleticism at Penn State to translate over to the NFL.
To welcome Smith to Carolina via phone call, owner David Tepper introduced another former Penn State linebacker: head coach Matt Rhule. Before Smith was born in 2001, Rhule was a three-time Penn State Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 1997.
Rhule even told Smith he gave Penn State head coach James Franklin a call before sending in the draft card. You can watch that call, courtesy of the Panthers’ official Twitter, here: