Central Casting: Former Central Florida Stud Kevin Smith May Be Future NFL Star

Allen Levin@@TheNBAllenCorrespondent IISeptember 27, 2009

DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 20:  Running back Kevin Smith #34 of the Detroit Lions carries the bll against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on September 20, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. The Vikings won 27-13.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The UCF Knights are not a program avidly known for having lots of their players make it to the NFL; but they do have some stars around the league.

Daunte Culpepper, Brandon Marshall, and Asante Samuel are some of the better known Knights that have had successful careers in the NFL. 

And with the recent play of second year running back Kevin Smith, you might want to add the former UCF standout to that list.

Smith, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions with the first pick in the third round of the 2008 draft, has begun to make some noise in the pros.

Last year, Smith had a solid rookie campaign, leading the Lions in most rushing categories.

He posted 976 yards on 238 rushing attempts, to go along with eight rushing touchdowns to lead Detroit. His 976 yards were fourth in the league among rookie rushers and his eight TD runs were the third-highest mark by a rookie in Lions team history.

With his strong rookie campaign, Smith solidified himself as the Lions starting tailback and went into the 2009 season with high expectations. So far, the sophomore hasn't disappointed.

In week one of the season, Smith had one rushing touchdown to go along with 52 receiving yards. Last week, he followed up his performance with an 83 yard rushing effort.

And earlier today, he stepped up his game even further when he rushed for 101 yards through just three quarters on 16 carries, before leaving the game with an injured shoulder. But, his performance helped the Lions snap a 19-game losing streak with a 19-14 victory over the Washington Redskins. Smith now has 204 rushing yards and one touchdown on the season.

While at UCF, Smith was a consensus All-American (first ever in UCF school history) and a Heisman Trophy contender. He brought the Knights to all new heights in his final year with the team, leading them to a Conference-USA championship and the school's second ever bowl game.

During that same year, his junior campaign, he set multiple team and NCAA records. He posted an astonishing 2,567 rushing yards, just 62 yards shy of setting the NCAA season-rushing record set by Barry Sanders. He also had 29 rushing TD's and 450 rushing attempts, which shattered the old NCAA record of 405.

To say the least, Kevin Smith is a UCF legend. He single- handedly put UCF's name on the national radar with all the attention he garnered in 2007 and had the Knights ranked as high as No. 26 that year. So, to see a UCF great having success in the NFL is something that all UCF fans can appreciate.

As Smith continues to progress and mature, we can expect to see big things from him in the NFL. And with his recent strong performances, it's only a matter of time before "24K" is making highlight reel plays again like UCF fans got accustomed to in his tenure at Central Florida.


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