Kevin Smith Turning Pro

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Avery, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. Avery

    Avery The Dog that Saved Charleston

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    The RB pool gets even deeper...

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Central Florida's Kevin Smith, the nation's leading rusher this season, changed his mind and will turn pro, he confirmed Sunday night.

    Smith seriously challenged Barry Sanders' NCAA record of 2,628 rushing yards in a season, but finished 61 yards short. The running back was hailed as a hero three weeks ago for deciding to stay in school to earn a degree and help build UCF's burgeoning program.

    "When I had the press conference a few weeks ago, that's how I felt then," Smith told the Orlando Sentinel. "I think people know with decision people know you're gonna go back and forth and change your mind until you realize what you really want to do. Two weeks ago had every intention of going back and being a knight. My true supporters will understand and realize I'm doing what's best for me."

    Another season would have put Smith well within reach of former Wisconsin back Ron Dayne's NCAA career record.

    Smith said it had nothing to do with records. He said he made the previous announcement to deflect attention leading up to UCF's Liberty Bowl matchup against Mississippi State. Smith also said the 10-3 loss in that game was no factor.

    "Me coming back had nothing to do with records. I was here a lot of years -- that's not a reason," Smith told The Associated Press.

    Smith, a high school honor roll student, said he wanted to come back and get his degree -- partly on the advice of his mother. But he returned to hometown Miami after the bowl game, and they had a long talk about his future.

    "She basically told me, 'Do what makes you happy,'" Smith said.

    Smith's change of heart was first reported by WFTV, Orlando's ABC affiliate. Smith said at a press conference Dec. 18 he would return to school, defying analysts who said he had nothing left to prove, and would be risking injury with more time in college.

    "Kevin had a great career at UCF," coach George O'Leary said in a written statement. "We thank him for his contributions over the past three years and wish him nothing but the best."

    The biggest knock on Smith was that he accomplished those feats in Conference USA, though he also rushed for 149 yards and two TDs against Texas this season.

    Smith isn't known as a big-time speedster, though he is fast. His greatest asset is patience and vision -- knowing where to make cuts to break long runs. He actually hasn't been timed in a 40-yard dash since high school, and said he's eager to prove he can run with the big guys.

    "This is what people want to see: 'Is he fast,'" Smith said. "They want to know how fast I'm going to be. They don't have to see if I'm a three-down back, because I played three downs."
  2. Big Dakota

    Big Dakota New Member

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    NFL Draft Spotlight: RB Kevin Smith [​IMG]
    RB Kevin Smith (AP/John Raoux)
    By Chris Steuber
    NFL Draft Analyst,
    Posted Oct 13, 2007

    NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber provides you with some insight on one of the nation's top running backs -- University of Central Florida's Kevin Smith. Find out why he could be a first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft in this feature.

    When you think of all the schools in the state of Florida, you don't usually expect the University of Central Florida to produce one of the top running backs in the nation. Florida, Florida State, Miami, and South Florida dominate the recruiting in the Sunshine State, but the Knights were lucky enough to get their hands on the explosive Kevin Smith. Ever since, opponents have found that getting their hands on him is a difficult assignment on gameday.
    On the Knights first offensive play of the season against NC State, Smith made his presence known. On the UCF 20-yard line, quarterback Kyle Israel handed the ball off to Smith on a simple counter play. Smith headed around the right end, allowed his blockers to push defenders towards the far sideline, creating a lane for Smith to run through. He quickly hit the hole and was home free for an 80-yard touchdown run.
    Now that's how you make an impression.
    "Kevin has gotten stronger. He is bigger," head coach George O'Leary said. "He is a very smart football player."
    Smith, a junior, is relatively unknown around the country, but when he's on the field, defensive coordinators scheme their entire defense around stopping No. 24. Smith currently leads the nation in rushing -- recording 860 yards on 146 carries and 11 touchdowns -- with an average of 172 yards a game and 5.9 yards per carry.
    Nicknamed "24K," Smith has drawn comparisons to Arkansas' elusive running back Darren McFadden and he has proved that he can be a featured back. Not only is he averaging 172 yards a game, but he's also carrying the ball 29 times a game.
    In his first two seasons with UCF, Smith was tremendous. As a true freshman he carried the ball 249 times for 1,178 yards and nine touchdowns. He finished second among freshmen in rushing, trailing only Northwestern's Tyrell Sutton who finished with 1,474 rushing yards. As a sophomore, Smith was hampered by injuries, but he still managed to gain 934 yards on 206 carries and seven touchdowns. In addition to his impressive rushing numbers, he showed his versatility as he hauled in 23 receptions for 158 yards.
    AP Photo/Reinhold Matay
    "As a freshman, he did not know what was wrong when a play didn't work," said O'Leary. "Last year was a little better. This year he tells me that guard did not get his hat where it belongs. He knows what is going on and is not afraid to speak up, which is why I like Kevin. Whether right or wrong, he will speak up. Especially today with peer pressure, I do not see a lot of kids stand up for what is right or wrong. He will speak up when kids are wrong and even when he is wrong, which I appreciate."
    At 6-foot-1, 211 pounds, the Miami, Florida native is a strong candidate for the Heisman Trophy award. With UCF off to a strong start this season, it will only help Smith's chances of gaining recognition for college football's most prized possession.
    Smith is a strong, physical runner who can take over a game. He's got tremendous quickness, vision, and strength. He's patient and allows his blockers to set up in front of him, finds the open running lane, and quickly hits it. A shifty runner, Smith is a back who not only makes defenders miss, but is truly special in the open field. He's tough, can take a pounding and gets better as the game progresses. He flashes soft hands and is a receiving threat out of the backfield.
    As good as Smith is, he's a bit tentative at the point of attack. He understands his strengths and knows that he can juke inside and bounce outside and make a big play. But the more hesitant he becomes about running inside, the more prepared defenses will be to contain him. Durability is a concern due to the amount of touches Smith receives along with the fact that he had surgery on his right shoulder last offseason.
    Overall, Smith is an outstanding runner. He's got all the tools to become an elite back at the next level. A tremendous competitor who's selfless and credits his teammates for a lot of his success,
  3. AmishCowboy

    AmishCowboy if you ain't first, you're last

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    Wow, I hope the Cowboys are interested in him with that #22 pick, he would make a great partner with MB.
  4. tomson75

    tomson75 Brain Dead Shill

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    I like McFadden, but there is entirely to much talent at the RB position this year to ignore. We can get a very good back at 22, 32, or 64.
  5. Big Dakota

    Big Dakota New Member

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  6. Biggems

    Biggems White and Nerdy

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    awesome awesome awesome.........

    he is my RB of choice.

    JIMMYBUFFETT Skinwalker

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    Wow , never dreamed he'd come out . Absolutely my favorite back .
  8. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    Kevin Smith immediately moves to number 2 on my RB wish list... very good back, very good indeed...
  9. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    don't want McFadden no more, this back class is loaded!
  10. JPM

    JPM Well-Known Member

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    Not if it's going to cost us an arm and a leg.
  11. Biggems

    Biggems White and Nerdy

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    it was so easy when smith and charles were staying in school..........chris johnson was the RB I wanted. Now that both have declared.....I want all 3....hehehehe

    Here is how I rate them in order of preference

    1. Smith
    2. Charles
    3. Johnson

    However, I will be happy with any one of these guys...and I hope the other two stay out of the NFC and NE. I would actually like to see Charles in Tennessee if we don't draft him.

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