Mario Cristobal landed some big names in coaching lore like Charlie Strong, Kevin Steele and Josh Gattis. But one hire that slid under the radar was the hiring of running backs coach Kevin Smith.
Smith comes to The U from Ole Miss where he coached backs for two seasons under Lane Kiffin. While in Oxford, MS, Smith coached ‘Canes RB transfer Henry Parrish as well as pro backs Snoop Conner and Jerrion Ealy. Ealy is now a Kansas City Chief, Conner a Jaguar.
Under Smith’s guidance, the Rebels finished the ‘21 season 3rd and the ‘20 season 1st in the SEC in rushing. Smith filled the same role at Florida Atlantic from 2017-2019. While at FAU, Smith coached CUSA MVP Devin Singletary. Singletary is now a Buffalo Bill.
Prior to FAU, Smith was a quality control coach at UCF from 2015-2016 while breaking into the coaching ranks after an NFL career of his own. Smith is known as a dogged recruiter and tactician with the running back position.
To go along with the stable of backs Smith has coached that are now in the NFL, Smith himself played in the NFL for five seasons with the Detroit Lions. A third round NFL Draft pick in the 2008 draft, Smith had a breakout performance during his junior season at UCF. During the ‘07 season, Smith rushed for 2,567 yards and 29 TD’s. In three seasons with the Golden Knights, Smith rushed for 4,679 yards on 5.2 yards per carry with 45 rushing touchdowns.
A Miami, FL native that played for the Miami Southridge Spartans, Smith scored 22 touchdowns over his five seasons in Detroit with the NFL’s Lions.