Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SMITH LOOKING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EARLY OPPORTUNITIES AT OSU

Devin Smith
MASSILLON — With the loss of Dane Sanzenbacher to graduation, and the upcoming suspension of senior-to-be, DeVier Posey, Ohio State seems to have a few openings at the wide receiver position going into the 2011 college football season.

One player in particular, Massillon (OH) Washington High School and class of 2011 commit, Devin Smith, is ready for the opportunity to show the coaches in Columbus that he has the skills to make an immediate impact.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Smith — a 2010 Division I first team all-Ohio wide receiver — said that he must take advantage of his opportunities as soon as he hits the field in Columbus this summer.

"I feel I could go in as a freshman and get some time and help OSU in any way possible," Smith told The Buckeye Times on Wednesday. "I feel that if I show the coaches I can play at the next level I think it will help me with playing time."

Smith certainly played at a high level at Massillon, hauling in 60 passes for 1,130 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. He was unstoppable in the Tigers' final five games of the season, recording 30 receptions for 609 yards and five touchdowns in that span, including more than 100 per in all five games.

In Massillon's opening round playoff game to eventual state semifinalist Toledo Whitmer, Smith added five grabs for 100 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers' 28-24 heartbreaking loss. He also completed a 21-yard pass in the defeat.

Smith had nearly 1,700 all-purposed yards in his senior season. His incredible senior season at Massillon certainly deserves a passing grade.

"I'd give myself an A," Smith said. "I think I got better with my route running and my speed."

So how will Smith try to keep up his high grade of performance at the collegiate level?

He plans on putting the veteran star Posey — who's suspended by the NCAA for the first five games of the 2011 season for receiving improper benefits — to work as a mentor.

"(Posey) is my idol," Smith said. "I'm looking forward to learning things from him. I want to learn from him the things that have made him successful on the field."

Smith is also excited about coming in and playing the next four years with fellow class of 2011 star, quarterback Braxton Miller.

Miller may see the football field early as well, as Buckeyes starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor will also miss the first five games of 2011 due to suspension. The Miller-to-Smith combo may begin much sooner than anticipated.

"It's a good thing," Smith said, about the prospect of he and Miller being on the field together so early in their careers. "It's a good thing because as years go on we will get better and have that great of a relationship."

The Buckeyes are coming off a huge victory over Arkansas in last week's Sugar Bowl, snapping their 0-9 bowl game record against the Southeastern Conference.

Smith, who's a currently a member of Massillon's boys basketball team, said he watched the game in delight and is confident in the future of the program.

"The game was great," Smith said of the Sugar Bowl win over the Razorbacks. "I'd have to say Ohio State football is going to be back on top!"

With players like Smith on board, he may just be right.