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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs draft Utah State speedster Michael Smith



The Bucs acquired their second running back in the draft today when they selected Utah State's Michael Smith with the first of two seventh-round picks, giving Tampa Bay a potential change-of-pace back who has top-end, game-changing speed.

Smith, a backup to fourth-round pick Robert Turbin at Utah State, took advantage of his limited opportunities, rushing for 870 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 7.6 yards per carry.

Maybe the most intriguing aspect of his game is Smith's speed, of which he has a lot. Smith said he was clocked at 4.26 seconds in the 40-yard dash during his pre-draft training, while running 4.32 seconds at his campus pro day. He provides a much different style of running than first-round pick Doug Martin and last year's starter, LeGarrette Blount.

But Smith likes to emphasize a different quality.

"They (talk about) my speed," he said. "Yeah, I’m fast, but I feel like my mental toughness (is greater). Like I said, I wasn’t the starter at Utah State. I had Robert Turbin in front of me. He’s a great running back, so I had to seize the opportunity when I got it. So, I believe (I have) mental toughness and not getting down on yourself when things don’t go your way."

Smith finished his college career with two of his best games. He rushed for 121 yards in the regular season finale against New Mexico State and 157 in a bowl game matchup against Ohio.

[Last modified: Sunday, April 29, 2012 10:22am]


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