As a three-year starter who finished his prolific junior campaign at Howland High School with a monster performance in a round-one playoff loss, Deveon Smith waited about another month before he finally received his first scholarship offer. Now they are pouring in…
As a three-year starter who finished his prolific junior campaign at Howland High School with a monster performance in a round-one playoff loss, Deveon Smith waited about another month before he finally received his first scholarship offer.
And ever since Michigan extended that initial offer to Smith on Dec. 7, a number of other schools, including Ohio State, have followed suit.
“I have Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Indiana, Bowling Green, West Virginia and Purdue right now,” Smith said. “Things are going pretty good right now.”
It was only a matter of time before the offers started pouring in for Smith who rushed for just under 1,000 yards in his freshman season and then recorded another 1,670 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore, before finishing his junior year with 1,897 yards and 22 TDs over a 10-game season (bye in week 10).
“All of my hard work is paying off right now,” Smith said. “(The offers) just shows what hard work gets you.”
Smith just went about his business as usual when he began the off-season without any offers.
“It wasn’t discouraging. I was just being patient,” Smith said. “I don’t want to say that I knew I was going to get offers but I didn’t even think about it. I was just focusing on me and Howland High School and how I can be better for my team next year. I wasn’t even thinking about college.”
And now that he has a handful of big-time offers to his name, Smith continues to focus on getting better for his senior campaign with the Tigers.
“Right now I have a strength and conditioning coach working on me everyday,” Smith said. “We do workouts that they do for the NFL combine and stuff like that.”
And at 5-11 and 205 pounds with a 4.5 forty time, Smith, known more as a bruising running back, works on his speed all of the time. It’s one of the only criticisms that seems to follow him around.
“They don’t say it to me but I know people say it,” said Smith who is a punishing linebacker for the Tigers as well. “It’s definitely motivating me just to prove people wrong.”
Obviously Michigan wasn’t concerned about his speed when they finally pulled the trigger on an offer.
“I was really happy when they told me they were going to offer me. It made my day really,” Smith said. “They were one of my favorite teams ever since I was younger. So it was a proud moment for me.”
But everything sort of evened out when Ohio State came in with an offer as well at their junior day on Jan. 29.
“Right now it’s 50-50 between Ohio State and Michigan. I don’t know,” Smith said. “I talk to the coaches all of the time so I’m (developing) good relationships with both teams.”
And if all goes according to plan, Smith would like to make a commitment to either school sooner rather than later.
“I plan on committing before my senior football season starts,” Smith said. “I would like to go to spring ball (for both schools) to ensure how I feel about both teams. So I’m really just waiting to see which team I really like the most.”
It looks like, at this point, it’s certain to be a two-team race between two of college football’s greatest rivals.
“Right now it’s a two-horse race,” Smith said. “It’s really exciting just because it’s two rivals battling to get me to go to their school. So it’s really exciting.”
Ed Warinner and Greg Mattison are leading the way for their respective schools.
“I actually call Coach Warinner and Coach Urban Meyer and Coach (Stan) Drayton from Ohio State, I call all three of them coaches, and I’m getting in a relationship strong with those three coaches,” Smith said. “And for Michigan it’s Greg Mattison.”
Smith certainly had nothing but great things to say about Ohio State’s new boss.
“He’s by far one of the finest coaches I ever been around,” Smith said. “He’s a jokester and I like him a lot.”
But Meyer is not the only reason why Ohio State still has a fighting chance to land Smith.
“Ohio State is really close to home and I was born and raised in Ohio and lot of people around me like Ohio State,” Smith said. “My mom likes Ohio State and my mom likes Michigan and I grew up liking both of those schools. So I don’t know.”
Maybe his good friend, Courtney Love of Cardinal Mooney, could help him with his decision in the end.
“Me and Courtney talk all the time,” Smith said. “We talk about playing together all of the time.”