The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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COMMITMENT PROFILE Bruising Tailback Deveon Smith Has Always Loved U-M east Ohio don't grow up with any love for Michigan, that wasn't the case with Warren (Ohio) Howland running back Deveon Smith. Although he liked the Wolverines mostly for their colors as a youngster, much more than that went into his decision to commit to Michigan the evening of March 17. "Walking into the stadium, I was get- ting chills down my spine," Smith ex- Although most residents of North- plained. "It was just getting me really excited and hyped just to walk onto the football field. I can only imagine what it would be like to walk out there with all the maize and blue during a football game. That really sold me on it. game day as a player, he visited in the fall for the Wolverines' contest against Ohio State. He saw the Maize and Blue end a seven-year losing streak to the Buckeyes. "It was really fun, atmosphere. It was really loud, really fun, and I really liked seeing a lot of what that stadium has to offer. That game was really, really packed. There were a lot of people there, and I enjoyed myself that game. " he said. "I loved the Smith had planned to wait a few days in order to digest everything he' ever, he couldn't wait another moment and pulled the trigger over the phone. "I got home, and I sat down and talked to my mom about it," Smith explained. Following his second visit to Ann Arbor, d seen. How- " "Then I decided to call. I talked to one of the coaches, and I told him I wanted to commit. He said, 'We're really happy to have you, we're happy you're part of our family and we can't wait to see you on the field. shoulders. I can focus in the weight room and get my team ready for this year, my senior year. "It's definitely a big weight off my ' gan's class of 2013, he'll be seeing a lot more of Michigan Stadium. The 5-11, 210-pound back will be suiting up in a Michigan uniform soon enough. When he does, Michigan fans will be excited by what they see. "He's very gifted, Now that he's in the fold for Michi- " Angle said. "He's got tremendous bal- ance and power. He's got great hands. He is an outstanding blocker. He doesn't fumble. In three years, he's got two fum- bles, and one came because he was so saturated in sweat because of the hu- midity and it slipped out of his hands. " Howland coach Dick " 50 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2012 Although Smith hasn't experienced " coach Brady Hoke and Borges at San Diego State — to the tune of 1,532 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2010. That straight-ahead attack is something that the Wolverines will be returning to once the dynamic Robinson graduates. It's also something that Smith will be Ronnie Hillman excelled for head used to. "We are an I team. We run downhill, 2,200 yards and 27 touchdowns as a junior. As a senior, he expects to build upon that success. Although Howland finished the season 9-1, the lone loss was an upset in the first round of the playoffs. Following his final season at Howland, Smith followed those big linemen to " Smith, who is listed by as the No. 32 running back nationally, racked up 2,200 yards and 27 touchdowns on the ground as a junior. PHOTO COURTESY DEVEON SMITH Michigan's pro-style offense by the time Smith reaches the next level. With Denard Robinson running the show in 2011, Wolverine offensive co- ordinator Al Borges had to dig deeper into the past to show Smith some film of what he'll be doing in the winged helmet. "Actually, they played me some San Diego State film," Smith said. "I saw a little All those skills will be put to use in bit of their offense. It made me smile. I was happy all right. " Smith will move to the next level, and he should still have some strong blocking in front of him. The offensive line at Michi- gan will be a strength, thanks to the ex- cellent recruiting work by Hoke's coach- ing staff. U-M's early recruiting haul in the class of 2013 includes five blockers that are ranked among the nation's top 200 overall prospects. The fit in Ann Arbor was perfect for Angle said. "We still double and combo block. We're gifted with a lot of big line- men in our program. " Smith, a three-star prospect and the No. 32 running back in the country ac- cording to — and he seems to be the perfect fit for Michigan, as well. He's a tough runner who can move the chains through contact — and who takes excellent care of the football — a key ingredient of Michigan's offensive formula in the future. — Tim Sullivan front. He allows the blocks to develop in front of himself, showing great patience for a young player. He does not shy away from contact and shows that he is a smart runner by dismissing defenders with an impressive stiff arm. His best strength is that his legs and feet accelerate on impact, which allows him to run through tackles. Areas Of Improvement: Smith will learn to secure the ball a bit better when Strengths: Smith has great balance as he works his way through the defensive FILM EVALUATION he runs — he hasn't yet faced defenders that have mastered the art of dislodg- ing the ball. As it is for most highlight films, there are limited clips of his blocking ability. Michigan will not put a back on the field if he cannot crush linebackers when called upon. Smith plays aggressively when he runs, which indicates that he should be a solid blocking back as well. Michigan Player Comparison: Mike Hart is Michigan's all-time leading rusher, racking up 5,040 yards from 2004-07. He also rarely fumbled the ball, always found a way to fall forward when being tackled and was a solid blocker. Smith has the potential to develop into the kind of consistent back that Michigan can hand the ball to 25 or more times per game. — Analysis From

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