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Crowd of 60,000 Watches O'Brien's Beaver Stadium Debut
Coach O'Brien meets with the media as spring practice commences
Nittany Lions begin spring practice on March 26
Seniors Crawford and Okoli Preview Key Leaders Division Clash With Illinois
It would have taken a high impact player to crack the lineup of Penn State's veteran and talent-laden receiving corps a year ago, and Devon Smith managed to do just that. Smith parlayed his exceptional sub-4.3 40-yard speed and tremendous athleticism and playmaking ability into significant playing time on offense and special teams in 2010. This year, the opportunity to expand his role in the offense and further display his skills and instincts should be available for Smith, selected pre-season second-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele's College Football Preview. Excellent in the slot as a pass catcher or as a threat to break a long run from multiple positions, he has the ability to influence the opposing defense with or without the ball in his hands. A dangerous return man, his dedicated efforts last winter and spring were rewarded when he was presented with the Red Worrell Award at the Blue-White game. The Worrell Award is presented by the coaching staff to an offensive player for "exemplary conduct, loyalty, interest, attitude and improvement" during spring practice. Smith was a Maryland state champion in the 100 and 200 meters out of Westlake HS and garnered wide receiver MVP honors at a 2007 Nike camp. He is one of nine returning Nittany Lions from Maryland.
2010 Sophomore Season
Smith played in every game and made six starts at wideout. He also was a significant contributor on special teams. Smith was fourth on the team with 27 receptions for 363 yards (13.4 avg.) and one touchdown. He ranked second in the Big Ten in punt returns with a 12.9-yard average on 12 returns, delivering a long of 25 yards. Smith also had three kickoff returns for a 27.7-yard average and gained 42 yards on 15 rushing attempts. In his first career start, he made one catch for 27 yards, had two carries for seven yards and a 20-yard punt return against Youngstown State. Smith made a game-high five catches at No. 1 Alabama, setting then-career-highs with his five receptions for 47 yards. He also had two carries for eight yards. Smith rewrote his career-high for yardage for a second consecutive week by gaining 61 yards on three catches against Kent State, including a 48-yard touchdown grab from Rob Bolden, the first of his career. He returned two punts for 33 yards and made two catches in the win over Temple. Smith recorded a team-high and career-high-tying five catches at Iowa for 58 yards and made three catches for 24 yards in the win at Minnesota. He had two receptions for 50 yards in the win over Michigan, including a huge 34-yard grab deep in Wolverine territory to set up a third-quarter touchdown in the primetime win. Playing near his hometown, Smith made two receptions for 56 yards in the win over Indiana at FedEx Field, including a 45-yard grab. He made two catches for 26 yards against Michigan State. Smith was on the field for 347 snaps, topped by 35 each against Iowa and Indiana.
2009 Freshman Season
Smith made two receptions for 25 yards, had two kick returns for 43 yards and one rush for seven yards in an impressive collegiate debut, helping the Nittany Lions beat Akron in the season-opener. Smith appeared in 11 games, making four catches for 30 yards, rushing for 33 yards on just four carries (8.2) and gaining 91 yards on five kickoff returns. He also made catches against Syracuse and Iowa. Smith suffered a mild concussion against Iowa and did not travel for the Illinois game. He returned to the field the following week to deliver a season-long 18-yard scamper against Eastern Illinois. Smith was on the field for 100 snaps, led by 17 in the win over Temple.
Smith was a standout athlete at Westlake HS. As a senior for Coach Dom Zaccarelli, he gained 1,816 yards on 250 carries and scored 24 touchdowns. Smith also gained 422 receiving yards on 18 receptions and scored four times. He returned three kicks for touchdowns. He earned wide receiver MVP honors at the 2007 Nike Camp. Smith was a Maryland state champion in the 100 and 200 meters.
Full name is Devon D. Smith. He is the son of Terrence and Cassandra Smith. He has one older brother, Donnell, and one sister, D'Naya. He is a crime, law and justice major. Born February 16, 1991 in Prince Georges County, Md.
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