Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Jevin Smith eyes the end zone, where he ended up on this play during the first half of Saturday’s game against Oak Hill in Wales. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Winthrop’s depth and balance on offense is already well-documented. The Ramblers are averaging nearly 35 points per game in large part because they are so difficult for opposing defenses to diagnose.

Coach Dave St. Hilaire has a virtual Swiss army knife of tools at his disposal when he draws up a game plan. But there are two constants who are on the field at all times.

One is senior quarterback Keegan Choate. The other is also a senior, but Jevin Smith’s role in the offense can’t be covered by one title.

“He’s played tight end. He’s played some fullback. He’s played that power back. He’s played a little bit of wing back,” St. Hilaire said.

Like Choate, Smith was a starter his sophomore season. He has been a two-way contributor all three years since, playing both ways.

Smith has been a steady and at times dominating defensive end all three years. But his role on offense has evolved over that time.

A platooning tight end as a sophomore, Smith added running back, a position he hadn’t played before, to his list of duties early last season.

“I didn’t play running back until last year, so they tell me what hole to run to and I just try to hit it as fast as I can,” he said.

“Absolutely it was an adjustment,” he added. “It was hard to remember my steps in the backfield. My quarterback stayed after practice and helped me work on it, and once I got it …”

Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Jevin Smith crosses the goal line for a touchdown during Saturday’s game. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Once he got it, Smith became a powerful downhill runner, which solved a lot of problems for the Ramblers, particularly in short yardage situations.

He ended up leading the Ramblers in rushing touchdowns with six last season. He assumed the team lead last week with three touchdowns in a 42-21 win over Oak Hill.

A key contributor to Winthrop’s state title-winning basketball team last year, Smith, at 6-foot-3 is more the prototypical tight end than running back. But his non-stop motor and power make him tough for one and sometimes two tacklers to stop.

“He just keeps moving forward. His legs keep moving,” St. Hilaire said.

Even though he’s put in the work to learn how to hit the hole hard, Smith is quick to point out that he needs the offensive line and fellow running backs such as Ian Steele to give him the room to get downhill.

“Ian’s my lead blocker and I follow him, but once I get a head of steam, it’s pretty hard to tackle me. I’m not going to lie,” he said.

Injuries have prevented St. Hilaire from taking advantage of Smith’s versatility as much as he’d like. Whenever that time comes, though, Smith will be prepared for whatever the coach has in mind.

“I’m moved around a lot. I already have to know a lot of the plays,” he said.


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