What Kevin Smith brings Miami football as running backs coach

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18: (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18: (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Miami football team officially named Kevin Smith as running backs coach on Friday. Smith is a former Central Florida All-American RB and played in the NFL from 2008 through 2012 with the Detroit Lions. Miami hired Smith from Mississippi. Smith spent the last five seasons with Lane Kiffin at Mississippi and Florida Atlantic.

Smith began his coaching career as an intern at Central Florida in 2015. After two seasons as an intern, Smith was a quality control administrator with the Knights in 2016 and 2017. Smith moved on to become the RBs coach at FAU under Kiffin in 2017 through 2019. Kiffin brought Smith with him to Mississippi in 2020.

Smith was the first consensus Central Florida All-American. In 2007 Smith had 2,567 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns and added 24 receptions for 242 yards and another TD. Smith was selected in the third round, 64th overall of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Smith played five years in Detroit and one in the CFL.

Smith has shown an ability in his coaching career to oversee a running back corps that utilizes one primary ball carrier or use a committee approach. In 2021, Jerrion Early, Snoop Connor and Henry Parrish all ranked in the top 25 in rushing yards in the SEC playing for Mississippi. Parrish is currently in the transfer portal.

Mississippi ranked third in the SEC in rushing in 2021 finishing with 2,829 yards for an average of 217.6 per game. The Rebels led the SEC and were 26th nationally in rushing in 2020 averaging 210.6 yards per game. Ealy earned second-team All-SEC from Pro Football Focus in 2020. Smith made Devin Singletary into a star at FAU.

Singletary had 2,116 yards from scrimmage and 32 TDs in his first season with Smith as his position coach on his way to being named Conference USA MVP. Smith mentored Singletary to back-to-back seasons being named first-team All-Conference USA in his two years as his RB coach.

Smith will be challenged with Miami. There are questions if Jaylan Knighton can be the primary back handling the majority of the carries. Knighton was pressed into heavy-duty carries in 2020 when Miami lost returning starter Cam’Ron Harris and projected number two RB Don Chaney Jr. with 2021 season-ending injuries.

Miami also returns 2022 sophomores Cody Brown and Thad Franklin. Franklin shared carries with Knighton late in the season and was the RB Miami relied on to close out games at the end of the season. Miami has not signed a RB in the Class of 2022. The Hurricanes could sign a high RB or add one through the transfer portal.

With Smith now officially hired as the Miami RB coach, Parrish is a player to watch as potentially joining the Miami football program. Parrish is from Miami and played in high school at Columbus. Smith is also originally from Miami and played in high school at Southridge. Smith was an adept recruiter in Miami for Mississippi.

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Parrish, wide receiver Bralon Brown and athlete Marc Britt all signed with the Rebels after being recruited by Smith to Oxford. Mario Cristobal is building a Miami football staff with each position coach having build success as a recruiter and through developing the players he is responsible for improving.