This weekend we spoke to Conquest Chronicles in relation to Leonard Williams, and you can read that HERE. Today we reached over to the team at Land-Grant Holy Land, a blog dedicated to the Ohio Buckeyes here at SB Nation to talk a little Devin Smith.
As I mentioned with Leonard Williams, we can do as much research as we like, we're probably not going to sit down and watch every college game they ever appeared in, generally our college blogs do, so they are a great source of information and clarification.
GGN: We've heard conflicting reports, some say Devin has great hands, some say he has bad hands, what's the truth?
LGHL:The truth lies in the middle. He has great hands, but he often doesn't focus on the follow through of his catch. In heavy coverage especially, Smith is able to really focus and bring in the ball. It almost seems that he is weakest when not tightly covered, because he will not follow through on making the catch. Buckeye fans all remember Devin Smith's spectacular, one-handed grab against Miami in the season opener in 2012 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OC65k1sw6M). He has the hands. He just needs to use them every down.
GGN: He's obviously a very fast guy who ran a lot of "go" routes. However how do you rate his route running in general?
Smith was the main deep threat for the Buckeyes this year. There were a lot of other young receivers who ran other routes for the team, so Smith wasn't really needed in those areas. The fact is that in college, Smith had breakaway speed, so go routes were his sweet spot. He is certainly capable of running other routes. He has the agility and the hands, and his cutting ability allows him to create space to make the catch. In the NFL, however, he will need to content with much more physical defensive backs who will aim to slow him down off the line.
GGN: He only had 33 catches last year, despite that he had 12 touchdowns. Why was he only target around 40 times all year?
Because he was double or triple covered the whole time! But for real, Ohio State has so much speed on offense. Everyone is a threat, but Devin Smith was perceived to be the biggest one. Even if he did not get every pass thrown his way, he drew enough coverage downfield to improve the odds of other receivers making plays up field. Why target the double covered receiver downfield when you can make an easy pass to an open receiver who can run?
GGN: What's the one aspect of his game that he'll need to work on the most?
Catching the ball before turning and running. Smith is so fast that he often had to stop and wait for passes to get to him, leading to him thinking about running for more yards after the catch before completing the actual catch.
GGN: People talk about the deep threat but what other aspect of his game will impress the Jets?
While he was not used much in this role at Ohio State, Smith would be an outstanding return specialist a la DeSean Jackson with his speed and his ability to create open space.
GGN: Did you get a feel for the kind of kid he is? What's his character like?
Smith stayed out of trouble while at Ohio State, but he doesn't seem to be a true leader—something that Urban Meyer highly values. Despite being an outstanding player from the start at Ohio State, he was not voted a captain by his teammates. Overall, Smith keeps his head down, works hard and doesn't run his mouth on Twitter or post- game conferences, which is a pretty good sign for a star receiver.
GGN: Is there anything else you think we should know about Smith?
Smith competed on the track and field team for his first three years at Ohio State—a testament to both his work ethic and athletic ability!