Smith and Miller have unique connection

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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 09/25/2011 12:28 PM

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Smith and Miller Have Unique Connection
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In his first game as a Buckeye, DeVier Posey hauled in four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.

He would go on to catch a total of seven more passes for 70 yards during the rest of his freshman season at Ohio State.

Devin Smith hauls in a the football against Colorado.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Devin Smith

Current freshman Devin Smith has already eclipsed that mark in just four games. The rookie from Massillon Washington snagged a pair of touchdown catches from quarterback Braxton Miller during Ohio State’s 37-17 win over Colorado Saturday.

“He gets good position and he catches the ball,” said Miller, who found Smith on touchdown passes of 32 and 17 yards.

Miller didn’t have the option of throwing the ball to veteran receivers like Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline Saturday. He didn’t even have Posey, who was serving the fourth of his five-game suspension to start the season.

It may not have mattered.

Smith has been a favorite target of Miller’s since the two freshmen camped together at Ohio State last summer.

“That’s when it really all started,” Smith said after the game.

“We exchanged numbers and we talked all the time. He asked me if I was going to come here.”

Miller made his highly-anticipated commitment to Ohio State on June 3rd of last year. Two weeks later, Smith joined him in the Buckeyes’ class of 2011, and the two have developed a unique chemistry ever since.

Braxton Miller
Photo by Dan Harker
Braxton Miller

“We hang out all the time and talk football and things like that,” Smith said.

“We’re real tight.”

In fact, Smith has gotten to know Miller as well as anyone since he enrolled at Ohio State this off-season.                    

“He’s sort of quiet. Funny a little bit. He really doesn’t pay too much attention to all the media (attention) he has,” Smith said.

“When we walk to class, everybody is always after him and asking him questions and he’s real cool about it. I think that makes him a great kid.”

Nothing brings a quarterback and his receiver together like touchdown passes. The first connection between these two was also Ohio State’s first completion to a wide receiver in nearly six quarters of football.

“He played a little bit outside on me and I ran the post and I was wide open,” Smith said of his 32-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.

“When I looked back and saw that I was wide open, I knew he was going to look for me.”

The play almost looked like a highlight from 2006, with Troy Smith running the fake option before finding Tony Gonzalez down the field for the a touchdown.

Smith said he dreamt about his touchdown catch on Friday night.

“That’s what I was thinking about,” he said.

“Coach (Stan) Drayton told me to take any opportunity.”

With Posey suspended and Corey “Philly” Brown still sidelined by an ankle injury, the Buckeyes desperately needed someone to emerge as a playmaker heading into Big Ten play.

Tight end Jake Stoneburner has made some plays in the passing game, as has tailback Jordan Hall, but none of the receivers had emerged as big-play threats.

Until now.

In four games Smith has nearly twice as many receiving yards as anyone else on the team. He and Stoneburner have combined for all seven of Ohio State's touchdown catches, including his second of the day against Colorado.

“I like both of ’em, but if I had to pick one I would probably pick the fade,” the 6-3 freshman said.  

“That’s just because the guy (cornerback Greg Henderson) was tight on me a little bit, and I had to make a big play, which I did.”

He barely got his left foot down in the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown that gave the Buckeyes a 27-7 lead Saturday. It was a fantastic catch by Smith, and a great ball from Miller in his first start at quarterback.

“I think he played very well,” Smith said of his friend.

“Nothing against Joe (Bauserman), I think he can also get the job done, but I thought Braxton did excellent today.”

He was only 5-of-13 passing—thanks to a handful of drops—but did rush for 104 yards—although it was officially only 83 yards after subtracting the yardage from three sacks.

It was far from a perfect outing for Miller in his first start, but it certainly felt like the start of something.

“It’s the future of Ohio State,” Smith said.

“These freshmen and sophomores are going to be the future of this football team and I think if we keep working hard we’re going to do great things here.”

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