Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Vincent Smith, #2

Vincent Smith (#2) had his best career game as a true freshman against Delaware State
Smith went to Pahokee (FL) Pahokee, a football talent factory that has also sent Richard Ash and Brandin Hawthorne to Michigan.  Smith committed to Michigan on August 29, 2008, over offers from Minnesota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, among others.  He was a 3-star to both major sites, the #36 RB to Rivals, and the #102 RB to Scout.  For his high school career, he ran for 4,677 yards and 58 touchdowns, including 2,000+ yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior.

Smith enrolled early in January 2009, along with several other freshmen.  He started earning some buzz in spring practices as a potential contributor.  As a true freshman, Smith had 48 carries for 276 yards and 1 touchdown, along with 10 receptions for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns; 166 of those rushing yards came in the dismantling of Delaware State, which would be his best statistical performance throughout his career.  He became a starter in his 2010 sophomore campaign, when he rushed 136 times for 601 yards and 5 touchdowns; he also caught 15 passes for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Smith tore his ACL against Ohio State at the end of the season, but he recovered in time for the following season and avoided a medical redshirt year.  Displaced as a junior by Fitzgerald Toussaint, Smith became a third-down back.  He ran 50 times for 298 yards and 2 touchdowns, also catching 11 passes for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns.  As a senior in 2012, Smith continued his role as a backup; he rushed 32 times for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns and caught 9 passes for 65 yards and 1 touchdown.

266 carries, 1263 yards, 4.7 yards/carry, 10 touchdowns; 45 receptions, 426 yards, 9.5 yards/catch, 7 touchdowns; 8 kickoff returns, 141 yards, 17.6 yards/return; 1/3 passing, 17 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception; 7 tackles


Smith was a four-year contributor at Michigan, who had an impact in many ways.  Perhaps the best part of his game was his pass protection from the running back position, despite being just 5'6" and around 175 lbs.  He stoned many defenders, perhaps all of whom were bigger than him, and was a key reason that quarterback Denard Robinson put up such jaw-dropping statistics as a runner.  There was a short time in 2009 where I thought Smith might develop into Rich Rodriguez's next impact running back, but that didn't last long.  He never developed the ability to break tackles, and his vision and elusiveness were just okay.  He was quick enough to make people miss in one-on-one situations, but struggled when asked to run inside.

. . . his 21-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass against Notre Dame in 2011, which helped Michigan come back for a 35-31 victory.

Many people have compared Smith to Darren Sproles throughout his career, but Sproles was faster, stronger, and more elusive.  Due to a lack of production and a lack of size, I do not expect Smith to get drafted or latch on with an NFL team beyond perhaps a training camp invitation.


  1. I'll remember him most for all the Mike Shaw/ "which RB sucks less" debates.

    That said, he has been one of my favorite players because of just how good he was at all OTHER things that RBs do, how tough he was, the guns thing, and the handful of memorable highlights he produced.

    No shot at the NFL, IMO - but that's true for most kids.

  2. I'll remember him most, unfortunately, with Lakwonda's hilariously incessant love affair. I'm guessing tears followed the reading of this post.

    But seriously, Smith's pass blocking and screen pass bonanzas were fun. The only similarity between him and Sproles is height, so I don't see Smith in the NFL either, but if you follow MGoBlue.com, you'll know he's an artist.

  3. I wish I could remember the game, but I can still see the play in 2012 when he picked up an inside blitz and rather than attempting to cut a guy down who had him by 6-8 inches and 50+ lbs, Vince Smith drilled him in the chest and straight out of the play with maybe the single greatest pound for pound block I have ever seen.

    Say what you will about Rich Rod, but the little guys he brought up from the muck have all been way stout Wolverines.

    I wish we weren't coming to the end of that.

  4. He will forever be linked with Jadaveon Clowney