Penn Hills grad Tim Smith sees greener pastures at Slippery Rock

Thursday, January 16, 2020 | 7:27 PM

When running back Tim Smith committed to Fairmont State during his senior season at Penn Hills, he knew he would have to compete for starting time with a crowded backfield.

But after two years of battling for playing time, Smith has decided to transfer to Slippery Rock for a fresh start.

Smith announced his intention to transfer via his personal Twitter account Jan. 9.

“I really wanted to go to a place I would be able to shine and I would get the carries I thought I was able to get,” Smith said. “I didn’t think I was getting enough run and touches. I felt it was time to transfer somewhere else.”

Smith was looking at opportunities at Cal (Pa.), Shippensburg and IUP.

In his two years at Fairmont State, Smith rushed for 417 yards and four touchdowns on 59 carries. Smith only had 151 yards rushing last season while the Fighting Falcons finished with a 5-5 record in the NCAA Division II Mountain East Conference (MEC).

During his freshman year, Smith’s best game came in the season finale when he rushed for 90 yards on 11 carries at West Liberty. A week earlier, Smith finished with 71 yards rushing and one touchdown on five carries against Concord.

Last season, Smith rushed for 101 yards and one touchdown on four carries in a 53-10 win over Wheeling on Sept. 12. The following week, Smith finished with 137 kick return yards for the Fighting Falcons in a 61-49 loss to Notre Dame College.

Even with the early season success, Smith couldn’t see the field consistently as he found himself behind a talented crop of running backs that included sophomore Tyree Randolph, junior Khalik Hamlin and senior Rakeem Darden.

“There were four dynamic running backs. I can’t really complain,” Smith said. “I ended up getting hurt the third game into my sophomore year. But I had to sit and wait my turn. I needed to learn a lot about patience and knowing when it’s my time.”

The 5-8, 185-pound running back will join a Slippery Rock team that finished 13-1 with its only loss coming in a 58-15 setback against No. 4 Minnesota State in the NCAA Division II semifinals.

During the deep playoff run, Slippery Rock defeated Kutztown, 37-35, to capture the program’s 12th PSAC championship.

“I have a chance to win a championship,” Smith said. “There are a couple of guys that I played with before. There are a couple familiar faces. I think I will be able to prove myself.”

Smith believes his athletic ability will be used to spread the field. Since graduating from Penn Hills, Smith said he thinks he has improved his leadership skills and his ability to bring positive energy to the team.

“I got a chip on my shoulder. I think I’m as good as anyone,” Smith said.

Smith, who majors in exercise science, rushed for 499 yards during his senior season at Penn Hills.

“I feel like I’m going to really thrive on this opportunity,” he said. “I’m going to give it my all. I’m blessed I get to continue my dream. I’m going to show them all who Tim Smith is.”


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