Geno Smith’s next-level education began a few weeks after the Jets’ celebratory locker-room scene in Miami last December.

He finished a maddeningly inconsistent rookie season, decompressed for a while, surveyed coaching changes around the league and went back to work with an approach that would make football geeks such as Peyton Manning proud.

When the NFL coaching carousel stopped spinning, Smith took some advice from friend and mentor John Thornton, who played 10 years in the NFL: Study the people who are studying you.

Smith was already a film junkie, but Thornton suggested a way to stay a step ahead and maximize his preparation.

“You got to study those guys who are coming up with plans all offseason to attack you,” Thornton told Smith. “Don’t just watch the film of yourself. Watch the guys who are planning on attacking you.”

Smith knew that the Jets would be facing four defensive coordinators with new teams: Jim Schwartz (Bills), Ray Horton (Titans), Mike Zimmer (Vikings) and Teryl Austin (Lions).

So, Smith pulled tapes from their previous teams and began a one-man offseason analysis without offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, quarterbacks coach David Lee or Rex Ryan’s help or knowledge.

“That’s smart as hell though,” Ryan told the Daily News in the run-up to the Jets’ preseason game against the Bengals on Saturday. “I never even knew about it.”

Smith remains a curiosity to most of the league after an erratic rookie season, but his physical gifts coupled with a year-round desire to fully understand the position have given the Jets hope that he can be the franchise quarterback it has desperately wanted for too long.