Among Michigan’s chief objectives on the 2013 recruiting trail was to significantly upgrade the running back position. While much of the attention is now focused on Richmond (VA) Hermitage star, Derrick Green, Wolverine fans would be wise not to forget the top flight runner already in the class. DeVeon Smith, after all, is a four-star prospect, the #11 running back in the country, and the #62 season overall… and he has the game to back those rankings up.
“We went 8-3 and made it to the first round of the playoffs where we lost,” replied Smith when asked to reflect upon the season. “I had 27 touchdowns, 1800 yards, I won player of the year in Ohio for division II, I won the Big 22 banquet player of the year, I was all state, all county, all conference, all northeastern, and I broke the Trumbull County all-time rushing record (with) 6,686 yards.”
Smith’s ability has certainly been top of mind for the Michigan coaching staff. They’ve made crystal clear what an excellent opportunity there is to be an immediate contributor.
“Coach Jackson came to the school and he said, ‘we need you ready for next year’,” recalled the Warren Howland standout. “(Fitzgerald) Toussaint got hurt and they don’t know how serious his injury is. (Jackson) said, ‘we’re going to give you a chance for the starting spot.’ I’ve just got to work for it.”
That message was reiterated when Smith made his way to Ann Arbor last weekend for his official visit. As pleased as he was to hear that again, he was excited by the chance to get better acquainted with the non-football aspects of his future home and the people he will share it with.
“(The visit) was fun,” Smith stated. “They took us on the academic tour and we saw the academic center. We went to a hockey game and I’d never been to a hockey game. It was kind of fun. And we just got to know each other a little bit more. Jeremy Gallon was my host and I got to know him a little bit more. I connected with mostly all of (the commits) because we were all together the whole time and we were just having a good time, having fun, and clowning with each other.”
The entire crew was happy when Detroit Cass Tech offensive lineman, David Dawson chose to rejoin the class. As a running back, Smith was especially glad. He even spent time trying to get Dawson some commitment company by courting Arvada, Colorado offensive tackle Dan Skipper.
“He is HUGE,” exclaimed Smith. “Me and him bonded a lot. We were having fun with each other. We were really clowning. I honestly think he is going to come (to Michigan). I hope and pray that he comes. That’s a big boy and we’re definitely going to need him on the offensive line. Hopefully he commits. We were all talking to him about it.”
With his visit to Ann Arbor now behind him, Smith will turn his attention to competition in another sport… one that could help him on the gridiron down the line.
“Right now I’m actually playing basketball my senior year,” he reported. “I just wanted to play with a lot of my friends. And I guess it’s getting my footwork better for football too.”
It also gives 6-0, 205-pounder one last opportunity to be cheered unamimously by his hometown fans. He knows those days are numbered.
“I would say there are like five people that are Michigan fans around here where I’m from,” Smith said laughingly. “I heard (the anti-Michigan stuff) all the time. But they said they’ll cheer for me besides one game, so I thought it was funny.”