Buckeye Nation was trying to stay motivated following the first quarter of Saturday’s game against Miami (OH); finally the crowd erupted with energy as Devin Smith leaped into the air and saved a wild pass with a one-handed catch for a touchdown. Smith’s catch was more than just amazing, it threw him in the early mix for catch of the year and lucky for him, highlight reels will feature this completion for years to come. It was the first touchdown of the season and it couldn’t have been done in a way that was more exciting and poignant.
“As soon as it hit my hand I knew I’d caught it,” Smith said. “I squeezed it real tight and hauled it in.”
After my simultaneous jumping up and down with excitement, I stopped for a second, and found myself asking who made the play; I paid close attention to the screen and saw the back of his jersey, D. Smith, who’s that? With the incredible talent he showed on Saturday, I figured now would be a great time to get to know the man we’re all talking about.
I started doing my research to see what kind of guy Smith is, where he came from, what can he do, etc; one thing is absolutely unquestionable, he is an incredibly talented athlete, not just on the football field, but around it on the track too. No wonder he was able to jump so high to catch the pass from Miller on Saturday, he is a HIGH JUMPER (makes complete sense now, doesn’t it?).
During the 2011 football season, the one I like to call our “transition period”, Devin Smith was a true freshmen wide receiver. He played in all 13 games for the Buckeyes and his numbers were impressive for a rookie; Smith had 14 receptions for 294 yards and 4 touchdowns. Looking back, it isn’t surprising that he was on the other end of another highlight play last season; he was responsible for the winning touchdown against Wisconsin with only 20 seconds left, leading the team to a 33-29 victory.
After the 2011 football season, Devin Smith competed for the Ohio State track and field team, all the while still finding time for his winter football workouts and spring drill obligations. This is a guy that one has to wonder, “Is there anything he can’t do?” So far, I’d have to answer no, he can do it all; Smith scored points for the track team at both the Big Ten indoor and outdoor championships, and also competed in the 100-meter dash and long jump.
Believe it or not, he actually had to scale back the amount of sports he was playing in order to accommodate the strict demands of the Ohio State football program. At his Alma mater, Massillon Washington H.S., in addition to football and track, he was also a stand-out basketball player. Everyone knows that to be talented means nothing without hard work. Good thing for Buckeye fans, this kid is also super dedicated to getting better each and every day.
Devin Smith did more than just score the first touchdown of the 2012 Ohio State football season; his catch was the beginning of a new era under coach Urban Meyer and after a glacially slow first quarter against Miami, it was the wave that broke the dam and energized a team, a stadium and a fan base. A collective sigh throughout Buckeye Nation could be heard upon the completed pass, followed by a cheer when it was officially signaled a touchdown.
Ohio State fans needed to be rejuvenated after a disappointing 2011 season, Smith’s catch set the tone for the rest of the game and perhaps, inadvertently, the rest of the year; the Buckeyes were not only going to play well, they were going to play BIG.
The most exciting aspect of Smith is that he is only a sophomore; he doesn’t have terribly bad habits to fix and he still has a couple more years under the new coaching staff.. His name is one you will be hearing more of throughout this season and next; with former go-to guy DeVier Posey now playing in the NFL, there’s an opening for a wide out that can make big plays and, if Saturday showed us anything, Devin Smith might just be that guy.