Anyone want to take a guess at what is going to be extremely fun to watch in a few years? You guessed it, Deveon Smith running with Derrick Green behind that huge offensive line at Michigan. Smith is a lovely compliment of speed to Green’s strength, and should be extremely successful, as well as hard to defend. Smith is a player who isn’t blazing fast, and you could see it on film, but it is fast enough to outrun players. There was several times, while breaking down the film, that I had to pause it and re-watch the same play, or just shook my head for a few plays after seeing Smith make defenders look like amateurs.
Smith possesses the kind of speed that, if you’re not careful, he could end up in the endzone a few times before the clock hits 0:00. That’s not saying he’s lightning fast, but he is a sneaky type of fast that DC need to watch out for. He is a back that prides himself on making players miss, but he is much more than speed. He is a pure athlete and it’s nice to see him not only rely on speed. He could make defenders miss with juke moves, or shed them while running, but still be able to continue his runs. Smith reminds me a lot of Michigan great, Mike Hart, and we all remember what Mr. Hart did while he attended classes at Michigan. If Smith taps into the potential he has, running behind that line of Logan Tuley-Tillman, and David Dawson to name a few, you’ll be hearing the name Deveon Smith quite a few times before his graduation of the University of Michigan.
One thing that concerns me about Smith is that he may rely a bit too much on just running at times, and doesn’t really go after players with different moves to keep them on their toes as much as I’d like to see. He has all the skills in the world in the open field and while holding the football, but I’d like to see him try to expand on more than just trying to run defenders over. Smith wasn’t blessed with open field elusiveness, and I’d like to see him try to work on that, if possible. He’s a downhill, north and south type runner, and I think he should try to make his skill set a bit more advanced. He’s not that back that will be running 60 yards on one play, he’s the kind of back that will try to pound it through the line and defenses linebackers, to try to make them tired before he strikes.
Overall, Smith will be a productive back while at Michigan, but I won’t go as far as saying he could be a player that is going to start immediately. Smith is going to have to share carries with some of the players at UM, such as Derrick Green, and Fitzgerald Toussaint, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He could learn a lot from the two runningbacks, and he could really make his mark on 3rd downs early in his career, and eventually earn split carries down the line. Smith is a great talent, and should be sure to entertain while playing in college, but entering college, I don’t see him being an instant starter. Smith will have to learn and wait, but if he is patient, a few years from now Green and Smith will be a deadly combination.
As always, Go Blue!