Where in the World Is...Jeff Smoker?

Ben WeixlmannSenior Writer ISeptember 19, 2008

Remember the gunslinger back in the early 2000s for the Michigan State Spartans? If not, his name was Jeff Smoker, and if you follow Spartan football at all, you've heard the name for sure.

Smoker had one of the finest arms in college football back in the day, and Mel Kiper Jr. placed him in the Top 10 on his draft board for senior quarterbacks. Although Smoker came off the board in the sixth round of the 2004 draft, he still made the St. Louis Rams' squad.

After he made the team though, Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick displaced him as the third quarterback on the depth chart and tossed Smoker into the world of professional athlete oblivion.

I hadn't heard about the guy in quite some time, so I thought I would do some research to figure out what he's up to these days. Apparently, after working his way up to be the starting quarterback for the Nashville Kats of the Arena Football League, Smoker has since moved on to play with the Arizona Rattlers.

Although the season has not started yet, Smoker is listed as the No. 1 QB on the Rattlers' depth chart after they moved Sherdrick Bonner, an AFL legend, to Chicago.

It wasn't all easy for Smoker at MSU, though, if you can recall. He was riddled with a substance abuse problem that got him suspended for five games during 2002, and SI even covered his difficult recovery later that year.

Sure, it would have been good to see the Spartan legend drop deep balls to talented wideouts in the NFL, but he has done a more important thing: He has resurrected his life.

While he holds virtually every passing record in Spartans' history, don't expect to see him on an NFL sideline anytime soon.

But at least he's in a place where he can remain away from his once-obsessive substance problems.