RB E.J. Smith, son of Emmitt Smith, commits to Stanford

ByTom VanHaaren ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Stanford Cardinal made a splash on the first day of the early signing period Wednesday by getting a commitment from running back E.J. Smith, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith.

E.J. Smith is the No. 96 recruit in the ESPN 300. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound back from Jesuit College Prep in Dallas chose the Cardinal over Florida, Georgia, Ohio Stateand Texas A&M.

"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 was accepted into Stanford, which he viewed as an accomplishment on the same scale of getting a scholarship offer in football. That acceptance into such a prestigious academic school was just too much for other schools to overcome.

That included Florida, where Smith's father was an All-American in the late 1980s. Smith has said he is trying to pave his own path and didn't let where his father attended school influence his decision. He didn't feel pressure to go to Florida, because his father allowed him to go through the process on his own and make his own choice.

"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."

His father hasn't pushed him one way or another, but the two often spend time watching film and the younger Smith soaks in all he can from his father, the leading rusher in NFL history.

"God put somebody in my life that can help with a sport that I truly enjoy and love, and just having a person that has excelled in football in my corner is a great feeling," Smith said. "He can give me things my high school coaches can't and being able to pick his brain is great."

Stanford now has five ESPN 300 commitments in the 2020 class, with Smith joining five-star offensive tackle Myles Hinton, receivers John Humphreys and Bryce Farrell and cornerback Ayden Hector.

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