EJ Smith, the son of legendary NFL running back Emmitt Smith, is well on his way to filling his father’s impressive shoes. The 2020 Dallas Jesuit running back has already landed major offers from Ohio State, Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida, his father’s alma mater, before the end of his sophomore season. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back is considered to be a 4-star prospect by 247Sports, ranked as the No. 184 prospect nationally in the 2020 class.
Smith and his family (father, mother and sister) visited Ohio State’s spring game on Saturday, part of an elite visitor list that checked out the Buckeyes program over the weekend. It was the first time that Smith – whose full name is Emmitt James Smith IV – visited Columbus and he came away impressed.
“That was my first visit to Ohio State, it was great. I was able to see what I need to work on physically. As with the campus, I thought it was beautiful and the way Ohio State carries themselves caught my attention,” Smith explained. “Just watching the players, I was able to see what I need to work on in order to play in front of the crowd they’re playing for.”
There was a little added benefit for Smith in visiting with his family members. His father played at Florida, earning first-team All-SEC status from 1987-89 and an All-American nod in 1989. Although his tenure for the Gators never overlapped with the Urban Meyer coaching regime at Florida, Smith and Meyer got to know each other during the latter’s time coaching the program.
“[Meyer] knew my dad from his time at Florida. That familiarity made me feel more comfortable at Ohio State,” Smith told Land of 10.
Ohio State has made some strides in recruiting the state of Texas in recent years, signing six prospects from the Lone Star State in the 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes combined. That list includes breakout star running back J.K. Dobbins and former 5-star recruits from the Dallas area like Jeff Okudah and Baron Browning. The Buckeyes were able to show off some of those Texas connections they have to offer.
“I was able to hang out with J.K. Dobbins for a little,” Smith said when recapping his visit.
With many major programs recruiting him — Ohio State, Georgia, Florida and Texas A&M are some of the most prominent football powerhouses in the country — Smith is well aware of the kind of players he’ll be playing against and competing alongside at the college level.
Spending time watching Ohio State scrimmage and seeing the workouts that the players participate in only reaffirmed what Smith already knew about the high-level of football to come. Competition will be intense.
“If someone runs away from competition, they shouldn’t play college ball,” Smith said of the depth charts at major programs.
Smith was impressed by Ohio State and is likely to return in the future, but does not yet have any concrete plans to do so. He also visited Texas A&M on Sunday, a day after his Ohio State visit.
His father retired in 2004 after 15 seasons in the NFL, capturing 3 Super Bowls, a Super Bowl MVP and an AP NFL Most Valuable Player and earning five All-Pro nods. He is the career leader in the NFL in rushing yardage, touchdowns and attempts and a member of the Hall of Fame for both professional and college football.