Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #86 DeVeon Smith

DeVeon Smith
Name: DeVeon Smith
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 216 lbs.
High school: Warren (OH) Howland
Position: Running back
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: Smith was a senior in high school. I gave him a TTB Rating of 63. He ended his senior year with 1,740 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Smith committed to Michigan in March 2012. Despite the pursuit of other, higher rated tailbacks in the class (like Derrick Green and Ty Isaac), Smith never wavered from his initial commitment.  He went on to have a stellar senior season and set the county's all-time career rushing record.

Michigan lost just one tailback after last season (senior third down back Vincent Smith), but they brought in three in the recruiting class.  Starter Fitzgerald Toussaint, who missed the last few games of the year with a broken ankle, should be ready for the season, although his effectiveness will still be in question. Behind him are junior Thomas Rawls and redshirt sophomore Justice Hayes, both of whom have played without being particularly effective; somewhere in the mix are redshirt freshman Drake Johnson and sophomore Dennis Norfleet, the latter of whom was mostly used as a returner last year. That gives Michigan four guys with game experience taking handoffs, and there doesn't seem to be a need to play all three freshmen, perhaps not even two of them. However, Derrick Green is a 5-star running back recruit, and historically that means he'll play as a freshman.  My bet is that Smith waits at least a year before seeing the field.

Prediction: Redshirt


  1. He may not get any or significant carries this year, but nobody should sleep on this guy. It's going to be hard to keep him off the field.

  2. I am sure he will surprise a few pondits this coming season.

  3. Cue the haters. You might get another avalanche of comments tonight, Magnus.

  4. If he red-shirts, that may encourage the coaches passing on an RB in the '14 class.

    Even though they've said they'll take a guy every year they also took three last year (if you count Shallman).

  5. Wouldn't be surprised to see him get carries if Fitz isn't back to 2011 Fitz. Could easily see him passing Rawls, Hayes and Johnson on depth chart eventually. Then again redshirt wouldn't surprise me either.

    1. I think this is correct. You really need two good RB's - after that, the rest can be scrubs. If Fitz and Green are in good form, red-shirting Smith makes sense. But if Fitz is not back up to speed or one of those two guys gets injured, the coaches may be tempted to play him. I have little doubt that Smith is more talented and a better tool for the coaches than guys like Rawls and Hayes.

    2. If Toussaint is halfway decent, I don't think he'll end up as a third-stringer behind two true freshmen. First of all, I don't think Toussaint will be that bad. Second, I don't think Smith is that good. Third, the coaches also have to think about the future, and they've shown that they have a role in mind for Rawls. There are too many options to burn the redshirts of two tailbacks.

      Keep in mind that long-term injuries change everything, too. If Toussaint or Green or Rawls or whoever tears an ACL or breaks a leg or whatever, all bets are off.

    3. Agree on Troussaint - he will be #1 or #2 if healed. Guessing #1. Also, Smith's chance of redshirting is probably > 50%.

      The coaches had plans for Rawls... until some decent RB's show up on campus. Rawls is the classic practice player - runs hard and looks good in drills as a result. But put him into a real game where he needs to find a hole or bounce it to the edge - and he can't do either. Smith may be overrated, but he will still be a better runner than Rawls.

  6. Not haters, just a lot of folks that really like DeVeon and think 63 is too low for him. In a few years well find out who was right.

  7. I personally would love to see Drake Johnson or Dennis Norfleet be the lightning to Derrick Green's Thunder for 4-6 carries a game. Johnson spent so much time in his HS off-seasons pursuing track that he has a lot of untapped potential. I think our OLine and Green will wear front 7's down and then Johnson (my preference) can provide an extra element of elite speed to the backfield.