August 15, 2012

Smith ready to wow in Meyer's offense

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Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

COLUMBUS, Ohio - After his first seven months in Columbus, first-year Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer had yet to be impressed by any of his new team's receivers.

And then the first day of fall camp happened.

Sophomore wideout Devin Smith ran a route that was so breathtaking and unlike anything Meyer had seem from any of his new pass catchers, that the Buckeyes head coach couldn't help but mention it in his post-practice press conference.

"I mean it was ridiculous," Meyer said of Smith's streak route. "My gosh, do we need a guy like that to do something."

Smith certainly showed the ability to impress throughout his freshman season in 2011, but it came in flashes. The Massillon, Ohio native finished the year with a team best 294 receiving yards, but they came on just 14 catches.

"I'm used to 14 catches in one game," Smith said. "I knew coming and playing in college was going to be a total different thing than in high school."

While 14 catches in one season may not have been what Smith had in mind when he committed to Ohio State, his reception total was more of an indictment of a passing game that ranked 115th in the nation. Smith's reception total tied him with Corey Brown and Jake Stoneburner for the team-lead in catches.

The Washington high school product attributed his ability to make an immediate impact last season to his tireless work ethic.

"I made sure that I worked hard every single day to get better. Every opportunity that I could that I could, I tried to do something," Smith said. "Fortunately, some things happened for me, which I'm very grateful for. I think the whole experience for me is great. Me getting in the game and all the plays that I've had, I think it's prepared me for this season."

Smith's production- which included a 40-yard game-winning reception in the final minute of the Buckeyes' battle against Wisconsin- is going to have to come more consistently in his first season under Meyer. The Buckeyes' coach has repeatedly expressed a desire for a wide receiver to emerge as the 'wow guy' on his team, and Smith wants to fill that role.

"I do want to be that 'wow' guy. To be that guy that everybody looks at and looks forward to watching play on Saturdays," Smith said. "I've worked extremely hard this offseason and summer especially and I've had a good week of camp and I look forward to keep rolling and progressing and getting better everyday."

In hopes of improving his already speedy skill set to play in Meyer's spread offense, Smith spent the spring running track for the Ohio State track and field team. Competing in the high jump, outdoors competition, and 100-meter dash, and long jump, the former high school state track champion said that he enjoyed his time on with his other Buckeye team.

"Getting my feet wet and really seeing the skill up in the Big Ten of track and field. I enjoyed it," Smith said. "I'm looking forward to doing it again after football and keep continuing my career in both sports."

But with track season in the past, Smith now has his full attention focused on his first love: football. And he wouldn't have it any other way.

"Playing football on Saturdays and the vibe of college football, it's just second-to-none. Everyone around the world is watching. All eyes is on you," Smith said. "We had a year last year that we didn't want, and I think we're going to come back and show everybody what we can do."


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