Terrelle Pryor had DeVier Posey.
Braxton Miller has Devin Smith.
The first four all played on Sundays at one point or another. One took home a Heisman. Another was considered a Heisman candidate. Another still set the BCS Championship record for longest kickoff return for a Touchdown then parlayed that into NFL return records as well. Two have yet to prove themselves to the nation and the two remaining are still out there, having a ton of fun and making Bert Bielema cry in the process.
Most people remember Devin Smith for his amazing reception against Wisconsin last year that sealed the game for the Buckeyes and sent the Badgers home with back to back last second losses. But Miller/Smith started long before that, going all the way back to the Colorado game of last year. Braxton tossed two touchdowns Devin’s way, one for 17 yards and another for 32. Here’s a little refresher for you, in case you forgot.
As you can see, Smith was adept at getting open in the end zone from the first time he stepped foot on campus. Yet on a team that saw few passing plays and even fewer receptions, players like Devin Smith were relegated to those once in a lifetime moments where the spotlight is on you and the entire nation is watching with bated breath to see if you can haul in that down field bomb from your Freshman QB. And oh yeah, he’s throwing on the run, just before the line of scrimmage, with pressure coming from all around him. No big deal, right?
So how do you follow up a season like that in which you have proven yourself to be a playmaker on the offense? Especially when the new rockstar head coach is looking for playmakers but seemingly stepping over your name everytime the topic comes up? You go out and you make what is quite possibly the best catch of the year. One-handed, leaping, fadeaway, defender on your back shoulder, circus circus catch. A catch so unseemingly impossible that millions of people let out a collective “OH.MY.GOD.” when you pulled it into your chest as you fell into a scarlet covered end zone. People were summoned from the kitchen, backyard or restroom to see the replay over and over. Then they watched it again on Sportscenter that night during Top Plays. Then they discussed it over the watercooler and still do to this day.
Yet this season you have yet to face a competent pass defense. So what happens when you make your first road trip into East Lansing to take on Michigan State’s stout defense? You outpace your defender then shake him off your shoes on the sidelines to rumble towards yet another touchdown to add to your collection.
So rest easy, Mr. Smith. Corey Brown may get the lion’s share of the balls thrown at him, but you ensure that when you catch the ball, something special happens. And that’s the definition of a playmaker.