Always a big-play threat throughout his career, Ohio State’s Devin Smith polished his game to become a more complete receiver in his senior season.
Just ask Michigan State, Wisconsin and Alabama if Smith has done that. Three of the nation’s better pass defenses, three of Smith’s best games. And his play against the Badgers and Tide helped propel the 4th-ranked Buckeyes into Monday’s inaugural championship game of the College Football Playoff against No. 2 Oregon.
While his overall numbers aren’t eye-popping, Smith knows his way to the end zone and that’s all Urban Meyer wants to see.
Here’s all you need to know about Smith:
1. Smith Leads The FBS in Yards Per Reception
Smith has totaled 886 yards and 8 touchdowns on just 32 receptions for an FBS-leading 27.7 yards per catch.
Of those 32 grabs, 11 have gone for 40+ yards, 2nd in the nation behind Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins (12).
Smith has always been a deep-play receiver. He averaged 15.0 yards per reception last season (on 40 catches), 20.6 in 2012 (on 30 catches) and 20.1 per grab as a freshman (on 14 catches).
2. Smith Has The 2nd-Most Receiving TDs in School History
With 12 touchdown receptions so far this season, Smith has moved into 2nd-place on Ohio State’s all-time list with 30.
David Boston (1996-98) tops the list with 34. Smith knocked Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter (1984-86) and his 27 scores down to No. 3. Santonio Holmes (2003-05) is now 4th with 25.
Thanks to the dozen scores this season alone, Smith climbed from 7th, also passing Joey Galloway (19 TDs), Dane Sanzenbacher (19) and Brian Robiskie (24) along the way.
3. Ohio State Is Undefeated When Smith Scores a TD
Since Smith has been on campus, Ohio State has yet to lose a game when he scores a touchdown. 22 games with a Smith TD. 22 wins and 0 losses for OSU, including 8-0 this season.
The Buckeyes haven’t lost much during Smith’s 4 seasons – they’re 43-10 over that time.
4. Smith Is Climbing up NFL Draft Boards
Anyone with freakish athletic talent, speed and big-play ability catches the eye of NFL scouts. And Smith certainly possesses those qualities.
An unidentified NFC North scout recently told NFL.com:
“The guy to watch out for in the draft is (Ohio State WR) Devin Smith. Media guys are going to be slow to catch up on him, but he’s going to shoot up draft boards. He’s bigger than (Florida State’s) Rashad Greene and faster. Ohio State should have used him better.”
The scout went on to add Smith has speed that “will match Phillip Dorsett at the combine,” referring to the Miami Hurricane receiver with mid-4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash.
Smith has been unofficially clocked in the 4.4s. The NFL Scouting Combine is Feb. 17-23.
5. Smith Also Competes For The OSU Track & Field Team
When not on the gridiron, Smith lends his leaping ability and speed to the Ohio State Track & Field Team as a high jumper and sprinter.
Smith finished 2nd at the 2014 Big Ten outdoor championships in the high jump by clearing 7-0.25, a personal best.
As a sophomore, he was on the Buckeyes’ 4×100-meter relay team, which earned honorable mention All-America status.
He was also am Ohio state long jump champion at Washington High in Massillon.