Laray Smith moving from running back to corner

Kevin Wilson announced on his radio show Wednesday that sophomore Laray Smith is moving to cornerback.

It’s a bit of an unexpected move and Wilson did not specify a reason for the switch. Smith, a four-time All-American sprinter in high school, possesses home-run speed and big play possibilities as a running back. Now, the 6-foot, 190-pound sophomore will see if he can harness all of those attributes in the opposite backfield.

“He’s learning how to play corner,” Wilson said on the show. “He’s a little bit of a fish out of water there, but we think we’ve found a niche for him. We’ll see him on special teams this year, and we think he’ll be an excellent corner prospect in years to come.”

The Staten Island product played sparingly on offense last season. Playing behind Tevin Coleman and Stephen Houston, Smith had just four carries and did not play after the Missouri game in late September.

Wilson also said that D’Angelo Roberts will be the backup running back and Myles Graham is slotted as the No. 3, as expected. We mentioned this a couple days ago, but freshman Tommy Mister underwent knee surgery Wednesday and will miss the remainder of the season. He will take a redshirt.

11 comments

  1. Anyone else hearing about a move by Frosh LB Chris Covington moving to QB? The position he played in HS. He has good wheels.

  2. HC, was that question tongue-in-cheek? Why would IU move a freshman LB to QB? We have three QBs and an O-line that is supposed to be able to protect them. And I think we have two more QBs coming in next year’s freshman class. Unless Covington is a phenom, his future would be better playing LB.

    1. I’ll leave the football beat guys to directly answer this question, but if Covington is unlikely to see the field at linebacker, might make sense to at least put in a wildcat package for him at quarterback, a la Roberson, particularly in the red zone. Could easily go back to full-time linebacker next year.

  3. Given Smith’s speed, I’m a bit surprised they did not convert him to receiver. If for nothing else, just to stretch the defense from time to time. D-back also utilizes that speed, but it’s a very different mindset. I hope Wilson finds a way to use Smith on occasion. You can never have too much speed on the field.

  4. What he said. No harm no foul if it is so. Zander is a HS light 175 lb. Frosh. NB is a walk on. I would suggest they figure they need someone w/wheels and broad shoulders which Covington does have both in case they do not want to expose Sudfeld to any unneeded damage.

  5. I always thought that you played your best athletes on defense, especially if they have the ability and speed. Smith definitely has athletic ability and speed to burn. If he can move his hips like it is required to play CB then why not find a place for him on the field.

  6. Good comment, HC. But for “a player with wheels and broad shoulders” they have at least two really good running backs. The “wildcat package” is only a threat if the defense believes the quarterback is a threat to pass. I have no idea how good Covington is at passing, but I doubt he is as good as Tre was. If defenses don’t fear Covington’s passing ability, they’ll just load the box and dare him to throw it.

    Who am I to question Wilson as an offensive genius, but sometimes I think he experiments a little too much, almost as if he gets bored easily. How about becoming so good at what your best players can do and then letting them do that at a very high level? With the QB, running back and O-line we have now, I’m not sure a wildcat package will be anything but a waste of practice time.

  7. Neither RB mentioned threw for 2k yds. his Senior season of HS. At Raby last year Covington led his turf mates to the CPS semi finals. Raby has just over 500 students. He was also conference offensive player of the year. If Wilson is going to add to the backup QB mix, Covington is more than an experiment. As you state I do not Q Wilson.

  8. Addendum: Po, I do wonder if Laray Smith suffers ball security problems to frequently against college speed. He would not be the 1st fast guy with vision, brain and hands not co-mingling successfully. If he can successfully convert he can be a formidable CB.

  9. I finally got to watch some of Covington’s football highlights from High School. He’s a very impressive athlete. Covington looked like a man playing against boys in many of those highlight clips. He has a very strong arm, but his passing is raw. His ability to improvise when the designed play broke down was impressive.

    So, would Covington be more valuable as a wildcat QB or as a linebacker? Will he become the 4th QB or be prepared to just run the wildcat on rare occasions?

    After watching the highlights, one could also make the case for Covington becoming running back. At 6’2″, I think he could grow to become one of the biggest running backs in the Big Ten in a couple of years. But given existing talent vs team need, I’d say Wilson needs him more at linebacker than any position on Offense. It will be interesting to see what happens with Covington’s development.

  10. IIRC, Laray Smith is the fastest player on the IU team. I was hoping Wilson would use him on offense and get the ball to him in space like Lynch did with Marcus Thigpen. They already lost Anthony Young. I’d like to see more pure speed on offense.

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