Friday February 4, 2005Gator Great Emmitt Smith Retires from NFL
Former University of Florida football player Emmitt Smith retired from the National Football League Friday at a press conference in Jacksonville in the shadows of Super Bowl XXXIX. It was fitting that Smith announced the end of his storied football career in Fla., the state where it all began for the Pensacola native.
"I've given everything I can possible to the game, on and off the field," Smith said.
Smith starred for 13 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and spent the last two years with the Arizona Cardinals but is most remembered in Gator lore for his breakout freshman season in 1987 in which he rushed for 1,341 yards and 13 touchdowns. He finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy balloting that season and at the time became only the second true freshman (Eric Dickerson) to rank in the top 10 in voting.
Smith is UF's all-time leading rusher for single season yardage (1,599 in 1989), touchdowns (36), and 100-yard games with 23 in his three year career. Smith is also the only UF running back to rush for over 200 yards three times and has the only 300-yard rushing game in UF history with a 316 yard performance against New Mexico in 1989, a 27-21 Gator triumph.
22- Emmitt Smith
Pensacola, Fla. (Escambia HS)
Career Stats: Florida’s all-time leading rusher by the end of his career and holder of 58 UF records (19 career, 31 single-season and eight single game)…Rushing – 700 for 3,928 yards (5.6 avg) and 36 TDs; Receiving – 56 for 463 (8.3 avg) and rushed for 100 yards in 24 of his 31 collegiate starts… Holds Florida record for consecutive 100-yard rushing games with eight… Holds Florida records for career rushing TD’s (36) and total TD’s (37)… Holds Florida record for longest scrimmage (96 yards)… Ranks first on the UF and 5th on the SEC career rushing yardage list with 3,928 yards… Lost only three fumbles in 700 Career rushing attempts… Finished seventh in the Heisman balloting in 1989 and ninth in 1987… Three-time All-American selection and a consensus first-team All-American in 1989…Three-time consensus All-Southern Conference selection…1989 – Season Stats: Rushing: 284 attempts for 1,599 yards (5.6 avg.) and 14 TD; Receiving 21 catches for 207 yards (9.9 avg.)… Led the SEC and was third in the nation in rushing averaging 145.4 yards per game… Finished seventh in Heisman balloting.. First team All-America selection by Associated Press, Football Writers association, Kodak, Sporting News, United Press International, Walter Camp Foundation… First-team All SEC as selected by AP, UPI and Coaches… Coaches selection for the Nashville Banner SEC Player of the Year…Top 10 finalist for the American Football Coaches Association "Coaches Choice Award"… Ranked third in the SEC in scoring (8.8 ppg) and was first in the conference and 6th in the nation in all-purpose running ( 194.2 ypg)… Joined Herschel Walker as the only players in SEC history to have at least two seasons ranked among the top 10 all-time single-season rushing totals…Joined Dalton Hillard as the only backs in SEC history to rush for over 3,600 yards and catch 50 or more passes…Led the Gators in rushing, receiving, total offense, all-purpose yards and scoring… Rushed for 100 or more yards in nine of 11 games in 1989, breaking his1987 record for regular season 100-yard games…Lost only one fumble in 284 rushing attempts and finished the season with a streak of 184 carries without a fumble…carried 30 times for 153 yards (5.1 avg) and one TD in season finals against Florida State…Became Florida’s career scoring leader (216 points) with two TDs vs. Kentucky…Moved past Neal Anderson in career rushing attempts against Georgia… Carried 27 times for 86yards and one TD vs. Auburn… Had record-shattering day against New Mexico when he rushed 31 times for 316 yards (10.2 avg.) and three touchdowns…In the New Mexico game he broke 15 Florida and one SEC record including Florida single-game records for rushing yardage and rushing average, and Florida career records for rushing yards, rushing TD’s and total TD’s and the SEC record for yards per carry in a game (min. 30 attempts)…316 yards against New Mexico was the second-best total in SEC history…Earned Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors from the SEC and National Offensive Player of the week honors from Sports Illustrated and Sporting News following New Mexico game… Earned Co-SEC Player of the Week honors against Vanderbilt when he rushed 25 times for 202 yards (8.1 avg.) and one TD and caught a 13-yard pass…202 yards is the fifth best performance in UF history…The Vanderbilt and New Mexico games marked the first back-to-back 200-yard games in Florida history…Became second player in UF history and 12th in SEC history to rush for 3,000 career yards…Rushed 29 times for 117 yards and caught four passes for 34 yards against LSU…Caught first career TD pass in fourth quarter of the Mississippi State game… Earned SEC " Offensive Player of the Week" honors against Memphis State when he rushed 24 times for 182 yards (7.6 avg.) with two TD and caught three passes for 33 yards (11.0 avg)…182-yard effort was the ninth-best single-game rushing performance in UF history… Passed Tony Green to move to second on the Florida career rushing yardage list in the Memphis State game…Rushed for 117 yards against Ole Miss to pass John L. Williams for third place on Florida’s career rushing yardage list…Registered 15th career regular-season 100-yard game against Ole Miss to break a tie with Neal Anderson for first on career 100-yard rushing games list …1988 – Season Stats: 187 rushes for 988 yards (5.3 avg.) and 9 TD; 10 receptions for 72 yards…Consensus first-team All-SEC selection… Had a streak of eight consecutive regular-season 100+ yard rushing games until leaving the Memphis State game in the third quarter with a knee sprain…Reached the 2,000 yard career rushing mark in the fifth game of his sophomore season tying him with Tony Dorsett for second in that statistic (Herschel Walker accomplished it by the third game of his sophomore season)… Rushed for three TD’s against Montana State… against Mississippi State he rushed for 164 yards and 2 TDs on just 13 carries including a 96-yard TD run, the longest in Florida history
and fourth longest in SEC history…Had best game of 1998 in win against LSU, rushing 27 times for 132 yards…His third-quarter TD run against Kentucky broke an 11-quarter TD drought for the Gators… 1987 -Season Stats: Rushing 229 for 1,341 (5.9 avg.) and 13 TDs, eight 100-yard games, Receiving – 25 for 184 (7.4 avg.) and )TDs…Finished ninth in Heisman balloting joining Herschel walker as the only freshman in history to finish in the top ten …Named "Freshman Player of the Year" by UPI and Sporting News…HM All-America by AP …Became first freshman in UF history to earn consensus All-SEC honors… Set collegiate record when by rushing for 1,000+ yards (first seven games 1,011 total)) earlier than any freshman in history…1,341 rushing yards, the third best seasonal total ever for a freshman, ranked tenth in the nation and first in the SEC…Made first career start against Alabama rushing 39 times (school record) for 224 yards, breaking UF’s 47-year-old single-game rushing record…Established new school record for rushing yards in a single game (224), best two-game total (397), best three-game total (581) and best consecutive four-game total (711)…Set new school record by rushing for 100+ yards in six consecutive games …Also rushed for 128 yards in Aloha Bowl against UCLA… Notched for of the top twelve single-game rushing performances in UF history…25 receptions was most ever by a UF freshman and tied Stacy Simmons for the squad’s top number of catches…Named squad’s "Player of the Year"…Prep- A consensus Prep All America selection in 1986 and named "National Player of the Year" by several organizations…Rushed for 8,804 yards, the third best total in prep history…Scored 107 prep touchdowns (106 rushing)…Fumbled only six times in 1,127 carries…Rushed for 100+ yards in 45 of 49 high school games…Personal- Born Emmitt J. Smith III on May 15, 1969…Admires former Notre Dame and Pittsburgh Steeler standout Rocky Bleier…Represented nation’s prep football players at President Reagan’s "Say No to Drugs" campaign and function in Washington in 1986…Major- Therapeutic Recreation.
Career Rushing Stats
YEAR ATT. YDS. AVG. TDs LP
1987 229 1341 5.9 13 66 (Tulsa)
1988 187 988 5.3 9 96 (Miss. St.)
1989 284 1599 5.6 14 72 (New Mexico)
TOTAL 670 3928 5.6 36 96 (Miss. St.)
YEAR REC. TDS. AVG. TDs LP
1987 25 184 7.4 0 19 (Miss. St)
1988 10 72 7.2 0 19 (Georgia)
1989 21 207 9.9 1 29 (Ole Miss)
TOTAL 56 463 8.3 1 29 (Ole Miss)