SEC Football history: 50 best players of all time

SEC Football (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
SEC Football (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Emmitt Smith, Florida football
Emmitt Smith, Florida football (Mandatory Credit: Allen Dean Steele /Allsport) /

player. 840. . RB. Gators . Emmitt Smith. 13

13. Best SEC football players of all time: Emmitt Smith, Florida football

Emmitt Smith was an absolute star during his high school days, being named a Parade All-American, and landing in-state with the University of Florida. Throughout his three-year career with the Gators, Smith became one of the greatest running backs in college football history, leaving a legacy that is going to be hard to match by any back who puts on a Florida uniform.

After cracking the starting lineup as a freshman, Smith never looked back, racking up 1,000 yards in only seven games, which was the fastest ever. He was named National Freshman of the Year for his efforts, and the following season, he would go on to nearly rush for 1,000 yards once again, despite a nagging knee injury early on.

His junior season would be his best, as he set the school’s single-season rushing record, which includes a single-game school record of 316 yards against New Mexico. A three-time first-team All-SEC running back, Smith would also be named a unanimous All-American, finishing his career as a Heisman finalist, and the Most Valuable Player in the SEC in 1989.

For all of his success at the collegiate level, Smith also found tremendous success at the NFL level, becoming the all-time leading rusher in NFL history. He won three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys, proving to be a durable back throughout his career, and was honored by being inducted in both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fames.