Tevaun Smith wants to be more than viral-video star
IOWA CITY, Ia. – That viral video where Iowa wide receiver Tevaun Smith rattled off 41 one-handed catches of a football in 60 seconds?
All his idea. But he had help from teammates to pull off the unofficial world-record feat, which bested the more-talked-about 33 one-handers made by New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. while filming a Visa commercial.
"I was talking about it and the guys were like, 'You're not going to beat it.' I was like, 'Alright.' Might as well, I didn't have any class at the time," Smith said. "So let's try to get it done."
He enlisted receiver Riley McCarron to be his quarterback; kicker Marshall Koehn to collect the balls after Smith caught them and tossed them in a large trash can; and receiver Andrew Stone to hold the camera.
How many takes? Just one, Smith said.
"I didn't know it was going to blow up that much," he said.
That one-minute video which has around 200,000 YouTube views is Smith's greatest claim to fame and is something he hopes changes during his upcoming senior season.
Billed last August by position coach Bobby Kennedy as potentially one of the best receivers he's ever coached, Smith hoped for more production as a junior. He had 43 catches and led the team with 596 receiving yards, but that total ranked just 16th in the Big Ten.
Those totals were big jumps over his breakout sophomore season (23 catches, 310 yards), but he craves more.
"Personally, I'm not satisfied on what I did last season," the 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Canada said. "I felt like I could've done a lot better."
Now, with school all-time receptions leader Kevonte Martin-Manley gone, Smith becomes Iowa's clear No. 1 option out wide. There's also no doubt who the quarterback is, with big-armed junior C.J. Beathard at the helm.
"You know you can't stop running, because he can get that ball 50-60 yards," Smith said. "It's fun to see that."
Who will be Smith's wingmen? Jacob Hillyer and Matt VandeBerg are the leading candidates, but others are emerging.
Smith says Stone (5-11, 175) and sophomore Andre Harris (6-0, 185) are turning heads early in spring camp. Jonathan Parker (5-8, 185) has completed the transition from running back to receiver – he's getting all the reps there now, and could be an explosive option like Damond Powell was a year ago.
"He's definitely a flash," Smith said. "He's pretty fast. It's going to be fun to see him actually learn every single play and do his thing on offense."
Another guy on the radar is redshirt freshman Jay Scheel (6-1, 195), one of the prized recruits in the Class of 2014 who missed a lot of time with a knee injury. The former Union High School star is back on the practice field.
"He's definitely learning, but he's going to be good," Smith said. "He's still young, very young. He does whatever he needs to get open. He works hard."
IOWA'S TOP RETURNING WIDE RECEIVERS
With last season's statistics and year in school as of fall 2015:
Tevaun Smith (sr.) — 43 rec., 596 yards, 3 TDs (13.9 ypc)
Matt VandeBerg (jr.) — 14 rec., 256 yards, 1 TD (18.3 ypc)
Jacob Hillyer (sr.) — 11 rec., 105 yards, 1 TD (9.5 ypc)
Andrew Stone (sr.) — 3 rec., 48 yards, 1 TD (16.0 ypc)
Jonathan Parker (soph.) — 3 rec., 42 yards, 0 TD (14.0 ypc)
• Also in spring camp: Andre Harris (6-0, 185, soph.); Riley McCarron (5-9, 186, jr.); Connor Keane (6-1, 195, soph.); Jay Scheel (6-1, 195, fr.).
• Incoming true freshmen: Adrian Falconer (6-1, 180, Leesburg, Fla.); Emmanuel Ogwo (6-0, 170, Mesquite, Texas); Jerminic Smith (6-1, 180, Garland, Texas)