That performance earned him a spot in the starting lineup the following week in the Gators' SEC opener against Alabama at Legion Field.
As part of its "100 Years of Florida High School Football" awards ceremony, FHSAA named Smith as its "Player of the Century." Despite his accomplishments and accolades, some college recruiting analysts opined that he was too small and too slow to succeed in major college football when he signed to play for the University of Florida. When he falls flat on his face, remember where you heard it first." Smith accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played for coach Galen Hall's Florida Gators football team for three seasons from 1987 to 1989.
Recruiting expert Max Emfinger said of Smith, "Emmitt Smith is a lugger, not a runner. He did not start the first two games of his college career in the fall of 1987, but made the most of his opportunities in a second-week rout of Tulsa in which he gained 109 yards on just ten carries, including a 66-yard touchdown run.
Oh who am I kidding...it’s a fun topic and a good excuse to revisit Emmitt’s career and build a bunch of charts that show he was the man. An answer to this question requires an understanding of where Smith’s record sits in history, how often players have “been on pace” to eclipse the record and long-term trends that could assist or challenge those who might approach the record in the future. The following table shows the NFL’s all-time leading rushers: One thing jumps out at me...
were it not for one Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton’s 16,726 yards rushing would still stand as the most in NFL history.
Smith’s final tally occupies extremely rarefied air that could very well stand alone forever.