No. 21 Penn State vs. Illinois - AP Photos - 10/29/11
Donovan Smith enters his junior campaign as one of the Nittany Lions' most talented and experienced players and an All-Big Ten candidate. He brings excellent physical attributes, toughness and intensity to the left tackle position. Smith was selected first-team preseason All-Big Ten by USA Today and Lindy's and second-team all-conference by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele's College Football Preview. He started 11 games last year and has 20 career starts over the past two seasons, the team's third-highest total. His passion and dedicated efforts have enabled him to add more than 10 pounds of muscle to his 6-5 frame in the strength and conditioning program since last season. Smith and senior guard Miles Dieffenbach will be counted on to provide leadership for an offensive line unit that lost three starters and two key reserves. Among one of the squad's leaders in the weight room, he has lifted more than 400 pounds in the bench press and 500 pounds in the squat. An honorable-mention All-Big Ten choice last year, Smith was instrumental in helping Penn State gain at least 350 yards in every game, scoring at least 23 points nine times. He helped Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year Christian Hackenberg throw for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns, breaking 12 school freshman and all-time game and season passing records, and Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton combine to rush for 1,792 yards. The former Owings Mills High School All-American helped the Nittany Lions rush for 250 yards or better four times last season, topped by 289 yards in the win over Purdue. Smith and the O-Line boosted Bill Belton to the team's first 200-yard rushing effort since 2002 against Illinois (201 yards) and paved the way for 250 rushing yards and 240 passing yards in the win over the Illini. Smith is on schedule to graduate in December with a degree in criminology. Among the conference's top returning offensive tackles, Smith is one of seven returning Nittany Lions from Maryland.
2013 (Junior Season)
Anchoring the left side of the offensive line, Smith started 11 games, giving him 20 career starts. He was instrumental in helping Penn State gain at least 350 yards in every game, scoring at least 23 points nine times. Smith helped Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year Christian Hackenberg throw for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns, breaking 12 school freshman and all-time game and season passing records, and Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton combine to rush for 1,792 yards. Smith was instrumental in Penn State rushing for 250 yards or better four times during the season. He helped the Lions gain 574 yards of total offense against Eastern Michigan, their most since 2008 against Coastal Carolina (594 yards). He helped pave the way for a 287-yard rushing effort against Kent State, which was Penn State's most rushing yards in a game, at the time, since gaining 338 yards at Illinois in 2009. He was instrumental in protecting Hackenberg at Indiana, allowing him to complete 30 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns. He helped clear the way for 390 yards of total offense and five touchdowns in the four-overtime win over Michigan, including the first two rushing touchdowns allowed all season by the Wolverines. Smith and the O-Line boosted Bill Belton to the team's first 200-yard rushing effort since 2002 against Illinois (201 yards) and paved the way for 250 rushing yards and 240 passing yards in the win over the Illini. He helped open running lanes for Zach Zwinak's 150 yards rushing at Minnesota and his 149 yards and three rushing touchdowns in the win over Purdue. Smith and the O-Line led the way for a season-high 289 rushing yards and 501 total yards, a season-high against a Big Ten foe, in the 45-21 win over the Boilermakers. He blocked for Zwinak's 149-yard rushing effort in the Nebraska game and helped open running lanes for Zwinak's 115 yards in the big win at No. 14 Wisconsin, marking the only 100-yard rusher allowed by the Badgers in 2013. Smith and the O-Line also protected Hackenberg, who completed 21-of-30 passes for 339 yards -- including three completions of 50 yards or longer -- and four touchdowns with no interceptions in the big win over the Badgers. Penn State delivered the four longest plays from scrimmage against Wisconsin all season -- completions of 68, 52 and 59 yards and Zwinak's 61-yard run.
2012 (Sophomore Season)
In his first season on the field, Smith appeared in 10 games with nine starts at left tackle. For his efforts, he was selected to the ESPN.com Big Ten All-Freshman team. Smith earned the starting nod the first two games of the season, but a sprained ankle at Virginia forced him to miss the next two contests. He returned to the field in the 35-7 victory at Illinois and moved back into the starting lineup for the dramatic comeback win over No. 24 Northwestern to begin a string of seven straight starts. Smith was instrumental in helping the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in total offense (437.0 ypg) in conference games and ranking second in scoring offense (32.6 ppg) and passing offense (283.1 ypg) against Big Ten foes. He helped Penn State gain more than 500 yards of total offense three times in conference play, topped by 546 yards against Indiana, its highest total against a Big Ten foe since gaining 557 yards against Michigan State in 2008. Smith was instrumental in helping pave the way for 1,000-yard rusher Zach Zwinak and protecting quarterback Matt McGloin during his record-setting 2012 campaign.
2011 (Freshman Season)
Smith was a first-team all-state and Baltimore Sun first-team all-met selection for Coach Steve Lurz at Owings Mills High School. He did not allow a sack as a junior or senior and also was a standout defensive lineman. Smith played in the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was rated a four-star recruit by 24/7sports.com.
Full name is Donovan Cole Smith. He is the son of Sharon Thomas. He has three sisters, Danielle and Tamika Thomas and Ebony Smith, and one brother, Dwayne Thomas. He enjoys listening to music, reading, cooking, fishing, playing video games and watching stand-up comedy. He is studying criminology and is interested in becoming an FBI agent or detective. Born June 23, 1993 in Hempstead, N.Y.