Smith Talks Gardner, White, Miller & More

Michigan QB Rod Smith on the keys to Devin Gardner's recruitment, the significance of freshman signal caller's early enrollment, plus his thoughts on the other prospects he landed in the 2010 class.

Question:  Devin mentioned you as a secondary recruiter. can you talk about his recruiting process a little bit?

Rod Smith:  "Well it was interesting.  Devin (Gardner) had been to our camp as a junior…actually he was a sophomore, going to be a rising junior.  So we had a lot of familiarity with him and had a chance to watch him play the last two seasons.  Coach Carter at Inkster did a great job.  Throughout the whole process, me, Devin, his mother and his whole entire family had a chance to develop a great relationship.  It was something that was special from the beginning I think.  He's a special individual, tremendous work ethic and a huge desire to compete."

Question:  Being that he is going to be in your position when he was on campus did you take a little special interest?

Rod Smith:  "Absolutely.  Me and Devin kind of hit it off from the beginning.  The first day he spent on campus, he came and worked out at our junior day.  Me and him kind of hit it off – I like the kid.  We kind of hit it off personality wise and we've been close ever since.  Throughout the recruiting process, me and him had that (bond) so of speak and so I kind of took him over (as his primary recruiter)."

Question:  Were you surprised with how early he ended the process and committed?

Rod Smith:  "Yeah a little bit.  Everybody in the country wanted that kid.  The part that did not surprise me because he was here locally, I knew being close to home and being part of Michigan's tradition in the future.  The academics and the ability of for mom to come watch him play."

Question:  Can you talk a little bit about coming in, in January?  Obviously he just got here; what kind of advantage does that give him especially at a harder to learn position like quarterback?

Rod Smith:  "I think it's huge.  It gives him five and a half years of school to play four years.  So he'll get 15 spring ball practices under his belt.  He'll have all summer.  He'll get to work out this whole semester with Mike Barwis.  So it's huge. It's almost like a season almost.  It gives him a huge head start in his maturation process and development process that he could get acclimated to school and football."

Question:  Do you feel like it raises your expectations for him or his own expectations for his first year getting these extra 15 practices?

Rod Smith:  "I'm sure.  Devin's a very competitive kid.  We watched him show up and he would go one on one at wide receiver against the top defensive back in state and beat them, beat them in camp.  He would go back to quarterback and throw a touchdown pass.  That's just the type of kid he is.  I think he has those standards and expectations that he likes to meet and plus we're going to have high expectations for him as well."

Question:  Can you talk a little bit about how he fits the offense of what you guys want to do.

Rod Smith:  "He's a big athletic kid who can run and he can throw as well.  People talk about his mechanics and what not.  Those are things we'll keep tweaking and work on.  He is pretty accurate for the amount of coaching that he's had.  He really didn't have a whole lot of coaching until the last few years with Coach Carter.  His upside, his ceiling is very high.  He's a big tall…he'll be a strong kid.  He's 210-215 pounds right now and he hasn't been with Mike (Barwis).  That's going to be encouraging."

Question:  Can you give me one sentence or so about all the other guys you were recruiting what you saw out of them?

Rod Smith:  "Marvin Robinson is a big athletic ferocious hitter.  He has a great sense for the football and he is going to be a projected competitor on the defensive side in the secondary.  Austin White who is already enrolled… he is a fierce competitor, loves competition.  He'll start at running back and we think he fits our scheme with what we do.  He's got great feet and great hips.  Richard Ash is a defensive tackle.  He's a big kid.  We had him at 275 and he actually weighs 305 right now.  He's never really touched a weight, so it'll be exciting to see when Mike gets a hold of him and changes his body.  He's not a bad looking kid right now.  He's a good looking kid.  Hopefully he can be a dominating presence by the time he is done.  Ricardo (Miller) is a big physical specimen on the field who physically is probably ahead of a lot of kids his age because his body is (mature).  He's a work ethic guy.  He's the last guy to leave the building, first guy there.  He's really a work ethic kid to get."

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