NOTEBOOK: Smith shines

Wide receiver DeAngelo Smith has a big day, a walk-on running back makes a name for himself and Steve Spurrier is honored in Gainesville.

Smith has big day

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver DeAngelo "DeDe" Smith, who has battled injuries for much of his career, emerged from the bunch of talented young receivers he was battling for playing time with a consistently good spring.

"He got player of the spring on offense," head coach Steve Spurrier said. "Every scrimmage he has made at least one big play. He has really developed into an outstanding receiver, as you can see out there today."

Smith caught four passes, three for touchdowns as he stole the show with 118 yards receiving in the spring game. With two practices left he has likely solidified himself as the primary back-up to All-American Alshon Jeffery

Wide receivers coach "Steve (Spurrier Jr., who recruits that Kingsland, Ga. area just watched him run, watched him compete, watched him block, watched him play football, and we took a shot at him," Spurrier said. "He's really come around. All three of (the touchdowns) he had to jump over a guy."

"Answered prayer, that would be the best explanation," quarterback Dylan Thompson said of Smith's first touchdown, a pass he threw up to Smith with two defenders around him. "That was a deep zone, I was going to come down to Marcus (Lattimore) but he was held up, so I ran over to my left and I looked, and -- DeDe he can jump higher than any of us -- I threw it down there and he made a great play as he always does."

Smith has started to gain recognition for his play after being buried on the depth chart mostly due to injuries his first two years, and the fact he played in a Wing-T offense in high school.

"It feels pretty good," Smith said of his play. "The last two years I've been hurt, so basically I just wanted to get out here and try to make a spot on the team."

And he's certainly done that.

"DeDe Smith has really been the surprise player of the spring," Spurrier said. "So now [with] Alshon, DeDe, D.L. Moore -- Jason Barnes did some good things today -- [and] Ace Sanders, we feel pretty good about the receiving corps."

"It means a lot," Smith said. "It lets me know I'm staying focused, learning the plays and what not. I'm just trying to learn.

"My main focus is just playing behind Alshon, so that's where I'm at right now."

Hinch catches on

Senior walk-on running back Josh Hinch probably isn't a player many fans are familiar with. But the 5-foot-7, 180-pounder made a name for himself Saturday when he caught six passes -- many of which were on the same drive -- for 43 yards.

"Little Josh Hinch, No. 17, let me tell you what, he's a good little football player," Spurrier said. "That No. 17. How many passes did he catch? Seven or eight? We kept dumping off and dumping off and finding him."

Hinch who graduated from Austin East HS and transferred to Carolina from MidAmerica Nazarene University also rushed for nine yards on three carries.

"He's a kid that Coach Graham really loves him because he's from Knoxville, Tn.," Spurrier said. "Coach (Jay) Graham of course went to UT. He's a valuable walk-on. He's a kid that could probably start at most colleges, but he wanted to come here to Carolina. Josh Hinch."

Spurrier honored in Gainesville

Spurrier was one of three former Florida players honored in Gainesville Saturday as statues of Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow were unveiled. The bronze statues of the former Heisman winners were debuted at the Gators' spring game.

"My daughter Amy (Moody) was representing me in Gainesville, Spurrier said, "and I sent a video message saying thanks."

"It's kind of hard to put in words," Moody told the Associated Press. "It's not often in life people dedicate a statue to you. It means a great deal."

"This is one of the best honors I've ever had in my life," Spurrier told the AP, but the message he sent featured a distinct Garnet and Black flavor.

Spurrier recorded the message sitting a meeting room at Williams-Brice Stadium with "Carolina Football" across the wall behind him.

"We did our own unveiling today," he said after the spring game. "And it was nice to have some type of championship sign on our wall along with the '69 ACC Champs.

"But that was a nice honor down there and my daughter Amy was down there to represent me."

No major injuries

While wide receivers Dion LeCorn and Noah Whiteside suffered major injuries in past spring games, Spurrier was happy to report that there were no major injuries Saturday.

"It was a good spring game, in the fact that no one got hurt," Spurrier said. "We have had some cracked ankles and legs it seems like in this game for some reason, but everybody got through I think unscathed. Connor Shaw had some cramps and dehydration I think, but other than that I think it was a pretty good game."

Spring Awards

Most Improved OL Cody Gibson
Most Improved DL Byron Jerideau
Most Improved DB Victor Hampton
Most Improved WR Ace Sanders
Most Improved LB Reggie Bowens
Most Improved TE Corey Simmons
Most Improved S Brison Williams
Most Improved RB Eric Baker
Most Improved QB Connor Shaw
Most Improved Specialist Jay Wooten

Outstanding Weight Room:

Damario Jeffery
D.L. Moore
Marcus Lattimore

Outstanding Walk-ons:

Travis Ford
Jared Shaw
Billy Byrne
Walker Inabinet
Seth Strickland

Harris Pastides - Scholar Athlete - Stephon Gilmore

Joe Morrison - Player of the Spring:

Offense - DeAngelo Smith
Defense - D.J. Swearinger

Ernest Brooks - MVP - Clemson Game:

D - Antonio Allen
ST - Spencer Lanning
O - Alshon Jeffery

MVP - Florida Game - Marcus Lattimore - Nat. Freshman of the Year.

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