INDIANAPOLIS — We knew De’Veon Smith could take it. But who knew the former Michigan Wolverines tailback was so dang good at dishing it out, too?
“You’re just making new friends,” the Ohio native said of the 2017 NFL Combine, and then proceeded to name-drop one of them — LSU star Leonard Fournette.
“You know, Leonard, he’s like an old man, has a couple grandchildren.”
With that, he grinned.
“It’s making new friends. It’s fun. It’s meeting new people and enjoying the process,” Smith continued. “Yes, I’m taking it like a job interview, but at the same time, having fun. I’m not going to have a straight face all the time. I’m showing that I’m enjoying myself.”
The 5-foot-11 tailback was smiling Thursday after the bench press, too, in which he tied among his position group for the fourth-most reps of 225 pounds with Florida State’s Dalvin Cook:
Top RB bench press reps #NFLCombine:
Samaje Perine 30
Chris Carson 23
Dalvin Cook 22
De’Veon Smith 22
— CollegeFootball 24/7 (@NFL_CFB) March 2, 2017
Grind? The combine? What grind?
“A lot of people out here aren’t as prepared as we Michigan football players,” Smith said. “Coach (Jim) Harbaugh has got us right, for sure.
“It’s just mental training, but coach Harbaugh has pushed us through the hardest things. Even a four-hour practice — if you can do a four-hour practice, you can do anything. You can withstand any of this that you’re going through. It’s like a walk in the park.
“Sometimes it gets annoying, but you’ve got to think about where coach Harbaugh took you and think about those situations. And this is very, very easy compared to that.
“I don’t think any others (here) have it easier than us right now because we’ve been through it all.”
A walk in the park.
Only with shuttle cones.
“That’s exactly how you’ve got to approach it or else it’s going to eat you up and spit you out,” Smith said. “You have to keep a positive mindset and be thankful you’re even here.”