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Emmitt Smith's Son EJ Officially Commits to Stanford; 4-Star RB-WR Recruit

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 18, 2019

Source: 247Sports

Running back EJ Smith, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith, will play college football at Stanford University starting next season. 

The Cardinal secured a commitment from Smith on Wednesday:

Joseph Hoyt @JoeJHoyt

BREAKING: Jesuit RB Ej Smith is heading west to carve his own legacy. He chooses to sign with Stanford. @SportsDayHS | #txhsfb https://t.co/KrxRRJ5UCn

Emmitt, a graduate of the University of Florida, gave a hat tip to his alma mater before praising his son's decision to forge his own path:

Tom VanHaaren @TomVH

Emmit Smith puts on a Florida hat at son EJ Smith's announcement and said he can wear the hat but his son didn't have to wear that hat, that he supported him to choose his own school. Pretty cool moment.

Emmitt Smith @EmmittSmith22

Smart off the field and exemplary on the field! Congrats on your pick and journey to @StanfordFball @ejsmith_22!! #SigningDay https://t.co/85FlDzNLjQ

He also expressed his support for EJ's decision during the announcement ceremony:

ESPN @espn

"At the end of the day, my son has his own journey. And it is his journey, not my journey." – Emmitt Smith after his son, EJ, committed to Stanford https://t.co/50gEfkyB4R

EJ is a significant addition for head coach David Shaw and his coaching staff for 2020. The Jesuit High School standout is a 4-star prospect, No. 3 all-purpose back and No. 144 overall player in next year's class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. 

Smith was a highly coveted player and was picking from a group of finalists that included Florida, Georgia, Ohio State and Texas A&M before picking Stanford. 

Gabe Brooks of 247Sports raved about Smith's ability in March during the Dallas regional of The Opening: "Smith proved consistently good in 1-on-1's, winning vertical reps, then closer-quarters matchups in red-zone work. Smith owns a build perhaps a bit more reminiscent of a back, but regularly showed Sunday that he possesses impressive receiver acumen and the requisite athleticism to thrive on the perimeter." 

Stanford can use Smith as a receiver or running back. He ran for 905 yards and 22 touchdowns on 165 carries and caught 34 passes for 513 yards during his senior season, per Garrett Stepien of 247Sports. 

The Cardinal have done a terrific job of developing running backs throughout Shaw's tenure as head coach. Bryce Love won the Doak Walker Award and was the runner-up in Heisman voting in 2017. Christian McCaffrey finished second in Heisman voting in 2015 and a first-round draft pick by the Carolina Panthers two years later. 

Smith will be the next in line to carry that torch previously held by Love and McCaffrey to get Stanford back on track following a disappointing 4-8 record in 2019.