2010 Countdown: #36 Vincent Smith

2010 Countdown: #36 Vincent Smith

July 29, 2010

Name: Vincent Smith
Height: 5’6″
Weight: 169 lbs.
High school: Pahokee High School in Pahokee, FL
Position: Superback
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #2
Last year: I ranked Smith #71 and said he’s redshirt. He rushed the ball 48 times for 276 yards and 1 touchdown, as well as caught 10 passes for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Smith had a solid freshman season and contributed more than most people expected he would. The coaches made up their minds early that he would play, as he saw game action in the 2009 season opener. He had a great game against Delaware State, racking up 166 yards on 17 carries. Otherwise, he had a ho-hum season rushing the ball. Against FBS schools, Smith carried the ball 31 times for 110 yards, a 3.55 yards per carry average. He did, however, contributed a good deal in the passing game and scored Michigan’s only touchdown against Ohio State on an 18-yard reception. Later in the game, though, Smith tore his ACL.

Receiving the bulk of the carries given to non-seniors last season, many fans expected that Smith would be the front-runner for the starting superback job in 2010. That is not my expectation, and there are several reasons:

1. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a 5’6″ starting running back at an FBS school, especially in the Big Ten.
2. Smith tore his ACL on November 21, 2009, meaning that he’ll be less than 10 months removed from surgery when the season starts. Those injuries usually take 12 to 18 months from which to fully recover, especially for jitterbug running backs who will be bending that knee in all different directions.
3. For all of Smith’s pass-catching ability, his running ability is lacking. His elusivity is his main strength, but his speed and strength leave something to be desired. It’s not unusual for freshman running backs to adjust quickly to the college game, but 3.55 yards per carry indicates that the adjustment hasn’t taken place yet.
4. There are better running backs on the roster, in my opinion.

I do expect Smith to play in 2010. He has reportedly been running near full speed this summer (although not cutting quite yet), and being 20 years old certainly speeds the healing process. The coaches obviously like some of the skills he brings to the table. However, being the starting running back on a Big Ten team less than 10 months removed from a torn ACL isn’t likely. Although I don’t expect it, I’d like to see Smith take a medical redshirt in 2010 and recover completely in time for the 2011 season.

Prediction for 2010: Backup running back; 35 carries, 130 yards, 1 touchdown


  1. Comments: 21383
    Jul 29, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    I wish to address your ending points:
    1) You are absolutely WRONG on this; Darren Sproles.
    2) You are absolutely RIGHT on this. Everyone has anointed Smith the starter, but I don't think he will be healthy until next year.
    3) His skills, which you aptly described, fit our system. Keep in mind, was a true freshman.
    4) I agree that there are better backs, namely, Mike Cox and Fitz Toussaint.

  2. Comments: 21383
    Jul 29, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Why no "prediction for 2010" like you have for most of the other players? You said you don't expect the medical redshirt, so what do you think for a short stat-line?

  3. Comments: 21383
    Jul 29, 2010 at 11:22 PM

    Wasn't Maurice Jones-Drew a starter? Isnt he around 5'6''?

  4. Comments: 21383
    Jul 31, 2010 at 2:19 AM

    In that Alamo Bowl game in '05 Nebraska had a RB (Corey something-or-other, I believe) who I think was 5'6" (and a starter). Little @#$%er looked like he was shot out of a cannon…

  5. Comments: 21383
    Aug 01, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    @ Anonymous 11:10 a.m.

    1) You're right about Darren Sproles. He's listed at 5'6".

    3) Smith was a true freshman, but the adjustment is minimal for running backs. What you see is what you get. He'll get a little stronger, read blocks a little better, etc. But he's likely not going to go from 3.55 yards per carry to 6 yards per carry. His ceiling is pretty low, IMO.

  6. Comments: 21383
    Aug 01, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    @ Anonymous 1:41 p.m.

    See above. Thanks for pointing out the oversight.

  7. Comments: 21383
    Aug 01, 2010 at 12:16 AM

    Maurice Jones-Drew is listed at 5'7". Cory Ross was a 5'6" running back at Nebraska, so kudos for that catch.

  8. Comments: 21383
    Aug 02, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    to those who are disagreeing with point 1: how OFTEN is a 5'6 rb effective? sure, you have freaks of nature in sproles(fast motherfucker) and MJD(who has more lower body strength than a MLB) but u also have the countless disappointments/failures/watever you want to call them. 5'6 and slow doesnt work. cory ross was fast as hell. MJD is fast enough. sproles is sproles.


You must belogged in to post a comment.