Siegel linebacker Deionte Ewing gave Oakland junior athlete Emmanuel Smith the ultimate compliment earlier this week.
Ewing, a University of Michigan football fan, called Smith the Denard Robinson of Oakland High football.
The compliment had merit.
Oakland (4-2 overall, 1-1 in 7-AAA) has leaned hard on Smith during the season, using him as a quarterback, rusher and receiver. And Smith hasn’t let the Patriots down.
He has 983 total yards this season for 47 percent of Oakland’s 2,082 total yards this year.
Smith is a chief reason the Patriots are on a three-game win streak entering Friday’s rival game at second-ranked Siegel (6-0, 2-0). Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“Comparing him to Denard Robinson is a good comparison,” Ewing said. “If we can shut him down, we can win the game.”
It won’t be easy.
Smith has thrown for a team-high 430 yards passing on 29-of-49 passing. He has five touchdown passes without an interception. He has a team-high 485 yards rushing on 59 carries with two rushing TDs. He also has three catches for 68 yards with a touchdown. That yardage is third best on the team.
“We recognize the talent he has,” Oakland coach Thomas McDaniel said. “I think ultimately you’ve got to give it to people that are going to make plays. It’s changed a little bit because we’ve had so many injuries.
“He’s had to be relied on more than we wanted him to. We’ve tried to find ways to get him the ball. A lot of that being that we have two quarterbacks. Rhett (Stacey) can go in there and play.”
Oh, and if that’s not enough, he has 43 tackles at free safety with an interception and two forced fumbles.
“It hasn’t been that hard of an adjustment on offense to be honest,” Smith said. “I learn pretty fast and pick up things quickly.
“Defense is just naturally for me. Receiver and other positions that I’m playing I had it down after a few practices.”
Smith first got put at receiver in a loss to La Vergne. His role there has grown over the past few games.
Opponents key on Smith when he lines up at receiver since he is often a focal point of the play when he is there.
“I feel that way (that people are keying on me),” Smith said. “So far when I’m at receiver I’m running deep routes. And that’s what we’re looking for — big-time plays out of our receivers.”