Emmitt Smith was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) and became the league's all-time leading rusher after a 15-year career. He retired after the 2004 season.
Born Emmitt Smith, III on May 15th, 1969 in Pensacola, Florida, Emmitt began his illustrious career at Escambia High School before attending the University of Florida. He left Florida after his junior year and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL in the first-round of the 1990 draft.
Prior to Emmitt’s arrival at Escambia, the Gators had just one winning season in its previous 18. When Emmitt stepped on the field his freshman year, the losing would stop. Emmitt rushed for 1,525 yards and 19 touchdowns in his first year. Although Emmitt opened a few eyes his freshman year, no one could have predicted the numbers Emmitt would post over the course of his high school career. His sophomore year he rushed for 2,424 yards and scored 26 touchdowns and led his team to their first state football championship with a 47-14 victory over St. Peterburg in the Class 3-A final. Escambia was moved to Class 4-A, Emmitt’s junior year, but this would have no affect on Emmitt’s ability to run over the competition. He rushed for 2,918 yards and 33 touchdowns that year and the Gators regained the state championship title. Although Escambia was not able to recapture the title Emmitt’s senior year, he was able to polish off his career with 8,804 yards and 106 touchdowns. Emmitt is still considered one of the top All-Time Offensive Players in high school football.
After Emmitt’s high school career ended, he was faced with a decision of where to continue his career. He passed up Auburn and Nebraska and decided to stay at home and attend the University of Florida. He quickly jumped into the national scene, rushing for more than 100 yards in his second game as a Gator. The following week against Alabama, Emmitt moved into the starting lineup and set a Gator record with 224 rushing yards in a 23-14 victory. At the end of his first season, Emmitt had rushed for 1,341 yards, a Florida record, and led the SEC. The next year Emmitt was plagued by a knee injury and had to sit out two games, but still led the Gators with 998 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. After fully recovering from his injury he was 100 percent his junior year and set new Florida records with 1,599 rushing yards and tied a school record with 14 rushing touchdowns. At the end of his three years at Florida he had scored 37 touchdowns, had 23 100-yard rushing games, was a NCAA All-American and still holds 58 school records. Emmitt did not stay his senior year, instead made himself eligible for the NFL draft.
Emmitt was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the 1990 draft. Coach Jimmy Johnson was looking to rebuild after a 1-15 season and felt that Emmitt could be the cornerstone of the Cowboy’s offense. Over the next twelve years Emmitt was able to help lead the Cowboys to three Super Bowl Championships, lead the NFL in rushing four times, was the league MVP in 1993, MVP of Super Bowl XXVIII and made eight Pro Bowl appearances. In addition, Emmitt was the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in 11 consecutive seasons and on October 27, 2002 he surpassed Walter Payton’s All-Time Leading Rushing Record of 16,726 yards and became the NFL’s All-Time Leading Rusher. On September 19, 2005 Emmitt was added to the Cowboys Ring of Honor along with his former teammates Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin. After 12 seasons with the Cowboys, Emmitt finished his career with the Arizona Cardinals playing the 2003-2004 seasons.
Emmitt’s mother Mary Smith always told him that football could end at any time, but your education will last a lifetime. Though he left school after his junior year to become Dallas’ first-round draft selection in 1990, he made vow to her to complete his degree. He fulfilled that promise by returning to the University of Florida each NFL off-season to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Public Recreation in 1996. He continues to support higher education and is currently sponsoring 19 underserved kids’ college education.
Today Emmitt lives with his wife Pat in Dallas, Texas with their four children. The son of Mary and Emmitt Smith Jr., Emmitt has two sisters, Marsha and Connie, and three brothers, Erik, Emil and Emory.
The winner of 4 NFL rushing titles, Emmitt is the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in 11 consecutive seasons On October 27, 2002, he surpassed Walter Payton's All-Time Leading Rushing Record of 16,726 yards to become the NFL's All-Time Leading Rusher The NFL's career rushing touchdowns leader with 164, Emmitt scored 100 career touchdowns during his first 6 NFL seasons, which was the fastest any player in league history has reached that mark The former NCAA All-American also holds 58 school records at his alma mater, the University of Florida He's the first player in NFL history with 5 straight seasons of 1,400 yards rushing Emmitt is the only player with 11 straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons; he has the most rushing attempts in NFL history with 4142 Emmitt also held the record for 9 years for the most rushing touchdowns in one season, 25 During his stellar career, Emmitt has led the NFL in rushing 4 times, won 3 Super Bowl Titles, League MVP honors in1993, the Super Bowl MVP Award (XXVIII), and has been selected to the Pro Bowl 8 times He finished his career with a total of 18,355 yards He was added to the Cowboys Ring of Honor along with teammates Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin on September 19, 2005
Emmit holds several records at the University of Florida. His career records for the Gators include: Rushing Touchdowns 36 Total Touchdowns - 37 Rushing Yards/Game 126.7 100-Yard Rushing Games - 23 Consecutive 100-Yard Games - 8 (1987-1988) Longest Rushing Play 96 yards (Mississippi St, 1988) The season records that Emmitt holds at Florida include: Rushing Yards - 1,599 (1989) Touchdowns - 14 (tied) (1989) Rushing Attempts - 284 (1989) Rushing Yards/Game - 145.4 (1989) 100-Yard Rushing Games - 9 (1989) Other highlights with the Gators: Has top two rushing seasons in school history Ranks second all-time with 700 Rushing Attempts Ranks second all-time with 3,928 Rushing Yards Ranks fourth all-time with 222 Points Holds freshman record with 1,341 Rushing Yards Holds freshman record with 224 Rushing Yards in a game (Alabama, 1987) Led SEC in Rushing in 1987 and 1989 Game Records: Rushing Yards - 316 (1989, vs. New Mexico) Average Per Carry (min. 25 attempts)-10.2 (31 for 316) (1989 vs. New Mexico)
High School Career:
In 2001, USA Today released its 20th Anniversary All-USA Team. It's a list of who's who in football, one that includes Randy Moss ('94), Orlando Pace ('93), Derrick Brooks ('90), Charles Woodson ('94) and Rod Woodson ('82) At the top of the list is Emmitt Smith, its All-time Offensive Player Not said to bless blazing speed, Emmitt accumulated an outstanding 8,804 rushing yards and 106 touchdowns at Escambia High School in Pensacola, FL. Prior to Emmitt's arrival, the Gators had had just one winning season in its previous 18. But as a freshman, Emmitt rushed for 1,525 yards and 19 touchdowns in 1983, he led the team to the divisional playoffs As a sophomore, Emmitt rushed for 2,424 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns and led Escambia to its first state football championship with a 47-14 victory over St. Petersburg in the Class 3-A final His 198 rushing yards in the final still ranks ninth all-time in Florida championship history Florida reshaped its football alignment in 1985, and Escambia was bumped up to Class 4-A. It didn't slow down Emmitt and Co. He rushed for 2,918 yards and 33 touchdowns, and the Gators repeated as state champions with a 27-17 victory over Southeast High School in Bradenton Escambia didn't return to the state championship in 1986, but Emmitt still ranks among the top players all-time nationally in rushing yards and touchdowns His 45 100-yard rushing games rank second ever.
NFL Career Rushing Stats
2004 Cardinals: 267-937 yds, 9 TDs
2003 Cardinals: 90-256 yds, 2 TDs
2002 Cowboys: 254-975 yds, 5 TDs
2001 Cowboys: 261-1,021 yds, 3 TDs
2000 Cowboys: 294-1,203 yds, 9 TDs
1999 Cowboys: 329-1,397 yds, 11 TDs
1998 Cowboys: 319-1,332 yds, 13 TDs
1997 Cowboys: 261-1,074 yds, 4 TDs
1996 Cowboys: 327-1,204 yds, 12 TDs
1995 Cowboys: 377-1,773 yds, 25 TDs
1994 Cowboys: 368-1,484 yds, 21 TDs
1993 Cowboys: 283-1,486 yds, 9 TDs
1992 Cowboys: 373-1,713 yds, 18 TDs
1991 Cowboys: 365-1,563 yds, 12 TDs
1990 Cowboys: 241-937 yds, 11 TDs
Total Rushing: 4,409 attempts, 18,355 yards, 164 TDs