The old phrase goes, ‘like father, like son’, but in the case of E.J. Smith (son of three-time Super Bowl champion, NFL Hall of Famer and all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith) the phrase only rings partially true. E.J. Smith is a talented running back like his father (ranked No. 96 in the ESPN 300), but instead of choosing to play for the University of Florida like his father did, E.J. Smith instead committed to Stanford University.
Wednesday, December 18 marked the start of the early signing period where high school students are allowed to sign with collegiate teams, and E.J. Smith from Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, Texas took advantage by announcing his decision to sign with Stanford over Texas A&M, Ohio State, Georgia, and most notably over Florida, his father’s alma mater.
Smith explained that his decision was not just based on football, but also on education. “They just love my versatility and the way they use their running backs is something I focused on, and also the education played a major part in it, too,” Smith said. “It’s a great feeling because only people know the athletic part of me, but they don’t know how much time I put in on the education side of it as well.”
Smith also made it known that his father did not try to pressure him into signing with Florida and let him make his own decision, only offering advice if asked. “He has been there only when I needed help, asked for help, and not more,” E.J. Smith said. “It’s really been a turning point in my maturity because I’ve had to make this decision on my own, unless I needed help from my dad. Other than that, I’ve been on my own in this situation.”
Emmitt Smith was quite proud to see E.J. choosing to carve out his own path, commenting: “At the end of the day, my son has his own journey. And it is his journey, not my journey.” He later followed up with an Instagram post that read: “I am so proud of my son. I look forward to the greatness he will achieve on his journey.”