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Emmitt J. Smith

Inducted 2002

Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys’ running back and the leading rusher in Florida high school history, is the first person to be inducted into the FHSAA Hall of Fame based solely on contributions as a student-athlete.

Smith, 32, played football at Escambia High School from 1983 to 1986. His senior year, Smith was a consensus All-American and was named the National High School Player of the Year by both Parade Magazine and USA Today.

Smith ended his high school career with a state record of 8,804 yards rushing, a mark that still stands fifth nationally, including 45 100-yard games, a national record that remains unbroken. In his 1,144 career rushing attempts, Smith fumbled only six times and helped lead Escambia to back-to-back state championships in 1984 and 1985.

At the University of Florida, Smith was an All-American and three-time All-SEC selection. He set 58 school records in three seasons, including the career rushing mark of 3,928 yards. Smith surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in his seventh game, faster than anyone else in college football history. He left the University of Florida in 1989 to pursue a career in the NFL, but returned to UF and graduated with a degree in public recreation in 1996.

In 11 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Smith ranks third in NFL history with 15,166 yards and is within grasp of Walter Payton’s all-time rushing mark of 16,726 yards. He has won four NFL rushing titles, three Super Bowl titles and was the MVP of Super Bowl XXVIII. Smith is the NFL’s career rushing touchdowns leader with 145 and is only the second player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in 10 consecutive seasons.

Off the field, Smith is the founder of Emmitt Smith Charities, whose mission is to provide scholarships to under-served youth in Pensacola. He also works with other charities such as the Make-a-Wish and the Battered & Abused Children Foundations. His annual holiday food drive supports more than 3,000 families in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Pensacola areas.