Today is a great day to wish happy birthday to Michigan Man Vincent Smith. You may remember him from the famous “hit heard around the world” in the 2013 Citrus Bowl. Actually, we won’t be talking anymore about that play and I am not even going to link the video. You have already seen it a hundred times. Besides, that play did not define the career of Vincent Smith. There is so much more to talk about regarding Vincent Smith, so much more!
Yes, Vincent Smith was born on this day and grew up in Pahokee, Florida. He was a spectacular high school player at Pahokee High School. His was a big contributor on a team that won three consecutive Class 2B Florida State Football Championships which is very impressive. He was also a teammate of a young man named Martavious Odoms who was also a very good player. Odoms was one year ahead of Smith in school. Martavious decided to go to Michigan and play in the Spread Offense of Rich Rodriguez. One year later, Vincent Smith did the same thing!
Smith, at 5 feet 6 inches tall and one-hundred seventy-six pounds, was small in stature, that’s for sure. What he lacked in size, he more than made up for in speed, toughness and football “Smarts.” He could play!
In fact, he was so good that he played in eight games as a freshman in 2009. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry as a “superback” and logged 48 carries for 276 yards. He also caught 10 passes for 82 yards which made him a very productive role player. He also returned one kick for twelve yards. Smith had his first 100-yard rushing performance against Delaware State when he rushed 17 times for 166 yards and one touchdown. Vincent Smith’s Michigan football career was off to a very fast start. Obviously, he earned his first varsity letter as a freshman in 2009.
Vincent Smith’s role expanded in 2010. His carries almost tripled – going from 48 to 136, and his yardage shot up to 601 yards. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry and ran for 5 touchdowns. Smith also caught 15 passes for 130 yards and 2 more touchdowns. He did everything he was asked to do and Michigan had a winning season (7-6) in 2010. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and Coach Rodriguez was gone in early January 2011.
Smith continued to contribute to the Michigan offense and on special teams in 2011. Although his role was reduced in the Al Borgess “system,” he continued to make plays whenever he was asked to do so. In his first start in the Hoke Era, Smith found his way into Michigan football history on October 1, 2011. He went wild against Minnesota by running for a touchdown, throwing a touchdown pass and catching a touchdown pass in the same game. Smith finished the 2011 season with 298 rushing yards (2 touchdowns) and averaged 6.0 yards per carry. He also caught 11 passes for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns. Smith continued to return kickoffs and logged 129 yards on 7 returns. Overall, he was very productive. His efforts helped Michigan win eleven games and the 2012 Sugar Bowl Championship.
Vincent Smith productivity went way down in his senior year. He just didn’t have a big role and the Michigan Offense never got untracked. I fault the coaches for that stuff. Smith was a player and Michigan just didn’t get enough out of him in 2012. Vincent Smith ended his Michigan career with some impressive numbers. He rushed for 1,269 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. He caught 46 passes for 435 yards. Smith scored seventeen touchdowns for the Wolverines and made a ton of great plays.
Today is a good day to remember the Michigan football career of Vincent Smith. He was an excellent player who played a lot of good football on some not so good teams. Smith gave everything he had to his coaches and to Michigan. He was a four-way threat because he could run the ball, throw the ball, catch the ball and return the ball on special teams. Smitty was a very productive player who was versatile and tough. Pound-for-pound, he is one of the toughest men to ever wear the winged helmet. Thank you, Vincent Smith for your contributions to the great history that is Michigan football. I hope you have a very happy birthday today! Go Blue!
Who holds the Wolverine record for most interceptions in a season and a career?
All-American Tom Curtis set the Wolverine record for interceptions in a season in 1968 when he picked off 10 enemy passes. Curtis followed up with eight more picks in 1969. When you add in the seven interceptions he had as a sophomore you end up with a total of twenty-five aerial thefts. Of course, that is alsothe record for career interceptions at Michigan.
The only man who has come close is a guy named Charles Woodson who recorded eight picks in 1997 and finished with 18 for his three-year career. Yes, Tom Curtis set the standard for pass defense at Michigan and he is still the best pass defender in Wolverine Football History. Not bad for a guy who was recruited to play quarterback for the Maize and Blue way back in 1966. Go Blue!
Only one Michigan running back ever carried the ball more than 50 times in a single game. Who is the record holder for most carries in a Michigan Football game?