SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Former University of Florida running back Emmitt Smith was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in South Bend, Ind. Saturday. Smith becomes the seventh Gator to enter the prestigious club, the first since former head coach Doug Dickey entered in 2003.
An elite running back with all-worldly talent on both collegiate and professional levels, Smith ran to national prominence in 1987, and by
1989, was a Florida legend.
A unanimous first-team All-America selection in 1989, Smith produced one of the most decorated careers in both Florida and NCAA history. The Pensacola, Fla., native is also a member of the UF Ring of Honor and the Team of the Century, breaking 58 school records en route to rushing for
3,928 yards and 36 touchdowns in only three seasons as a Gator.
After picking up Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors and finishing ninth in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1987, Smith tallied 1,599 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior in 1989. Those stats earned him the 1989 SEC Player of the Year award, as well as a seventh-place showing in the Heisman race. He was also a three-time All-SEC pick during his college career.
The Dallas Cowboys selected Smith in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft, and he went on to enjoy 15 stellar NFL seasons with the Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. Along the way, the former Gator led the NFL in rushing four times (1991-93, 1995) and rushing touchdowns three times
(1992, 1994, 1995) and was named to eight Pro Bowls. He also took home the NFL Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player hardware in 1990 and
Smith, however, seemed to save his best performances for the biggest stage in football. He earned three Super Bowl rings and was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXVIII during his tenure in Dallas. He rushed 71 times for 289 yards, caught 11 passes for 56 yards and scored a career Super Bowl record five touchdowns in those three contests.
Smith is the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards, with 18,355, and rushing touchdowns, with 164, and his 175 total touchdowns rank him second to only Jerry Rice’s 207 scores in the all-time annals. The sum of his rushing yards, receiving yards (3,224) and fumble return yards
(-15) give him a total of 21,564 yards from the line of scrimmage, making Smith one of only four players in NFL history to eclipse the
21,000-combined yards mark.
Extremely devoted to his charities, Smith works with children through several organizations, including the Open Doors Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army and “Just Say No” anti-drug campaigns among many others.
Smith was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in a class of 20 players and coaches, including former Virginia Tech and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Bruce Smith and ex-Dallas Cowboys teammate and former Air Force defensive lineman Chad Hennings.