Falcons take Ito Smith in fourth round
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Former Southern Miss running back Ito Smith, who finished with one of the most decorated careers in Golden Eagle history, was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth round (No. 126 overall) on Saturday afternoon.
Smith is the first Southern Miss running back drafted since Harold Shaw in 1998. He is also the fourth Golden Eagle to be taken by the Falcons since 2004 (Lamar Holmes in 2012, Michael Boley in 2005, Etric Pruitt in 2004).
Smith follows defensive back Tarvarius Moore, who was drafted in the third round (No. 95 overall) by the San Francisco 49ers on Friday night. He finished as the school’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards with 6,534, averaging 125.7 yards per contest over his 52-game career. Smith overall collected 15 touchdowns this season (13 rushing, 2 receiving), giving him a school-record 49 total scores for his career. He finished just two touchdowns shy of tying Damion Fletcher (2006-09) for most rushing touchdowns in school history with 42.
Smith, a native of Mobile, Ala., led the team in rushing at 1,415 yards on 248 carries (5.7 ypr), reaching the 1,000-yard plateau for the third time in his career. He is one of only three players to lead the Golden Eagles in rushing all four seasons with the programs – the others were Damion Fletcher (2006-09) and Bubba Phillips (1947-50) – and he is one of just three Golden Eagles to rush for 1,000 or more yards in at least three seasons. Smith was one of only 10 players in FBS history to record at least 4,000-yards rushing (4,538) and 1,000-yards receiving (1,446) during career.
His big-play capability saw him tie with the nation’s lead for most touchdowns 65 yards or longer with four. Smith established school record for longest scoring run of 89 yards at UTSA (10/7), added a scoring run of 80 yards versus Charlotte (11/18) in his final carry at M.M. Roberts Stadium, collected an 84-yard pass from Keon Howard on game’s first play, a flea flicker, against UAB (10/28) and tallied a 65-yard scoring rush versus North Texas (9/30). He also caught 40 passes for 396 yards and ended his career with 140 catches, good for fourth on the Golden Eagle career chart.
Smith had seven 100-yard rushing games for 23 in his career, including a career-best 219-yard rushing game at ULM (9/16).