The departure of a senior running back to the NFL would leave most college football programs searching through the depth chart for a replacement. At West Virginia, it’s just a matter of who will stand out from the others in a deep running back position.
If the post-spring depth chart holds any weight for this fall, senior running back Dreamius Smith will get the call to replace Charles Sims over sophomores Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell and juniors Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie.
It remains to be seen if Smith will hold the starting running back role through the summer, but the playmaking ability in these five runs from his junior season could help him in the decision before the Alabama game on August 30.
No. 5: vs. Iowa State, November 30
It was all going so good for West Virginia in the 2013 season finale against Iowa State, with a 17-point lead late in the third quarter and Smith just peeling off a 45-yard run to the Cyclones’11 yard line. And then, the fourth quarter and three overtime sessions were played after that.
Smith’s would be tackled for a four-yard loss in the final minute of regulation, his only action following the long run in the third quarter.
No. 4: vs. Texas Tech, October 19
Smith’s 38-yard touchdown run, along with a Josh Lambert 30-yard field goal, would knot the score 13-13 as West Virginia would enter halftime in Morgantown. Even with another Smith touchdown run later in the third quarter, West Virginia was unable to avoid their second straight loss and third in the previous four games in Big 12 play.
The two Smith touchdown runs are the most allowed by Texas Tech to a West Virginia running back in three all-time meetings dating back to 1938.
No. 3: vs. Maryland, September 21
Smith’s run in the fourth quarter’s final moments might be the only offensive highlight you need to see of West Virginia’s 37-0 loss to Maryland last September. The shutout was the fifth for Maryland against West Virginia, and first since a similar 33-0 drubbing at College Park in 1999.
Ford Childress would go on to fumble the football some four plays later to Maryland’s Quinton Jefferson in a perfect example of West Virginia’s luck in the game and throughout the greater part of last year.
No. 2: vs. Georgia State, September 14
Smith put the icing on the cake with arguably the best run last year in the final minute of West Virginia’s 41-7 victory of Georgia State, the only comfortably won game of the season.
With only 36 seconds to go and looking to chew the remainder of the clock, Smith would get the handoff from quarterback Ford Childress, attempt to be tackled by the majority of the Georgia State interior defensive line before running up the score just one more touchdown in the blowout win.
No. 1: at Oklahoma, September 7
With a little more than five minutes into the first quarter, Smith took quarterback Paul Millard’s handoff, shook off three would-be Oklahoma tacklers and didn’t stop running until he stepped into the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown.
The longest run of Smith’s career would give West Virginia a 7-0 lead, but after committing three fumbles and an interception through the game, the team couldn’t add anything else in the 16-7 loss in Norman.
Smith will have a chance to repeat runs like these and possibly more during the 2014 season. Some members of the Big 12 Conference will have some work to do bringing their defenses up to speed in time for this coming season like defending league champion Baylor, which lost 10 defensive starters from 2013.
With similarities to the newest Tampa Bay Buccaneer running back, Smith could be the next to hear his name called at the 2015 NFL Draft following a successful senior campaign for West Virginia.