Cornell Armstrong the third Southern Miss NFL draft pick, taken in sixth round by Miami
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Former Southern Miss defensive back Cornell Armstrong was drafted Saturday afternoon in the sixth round (No. 209 overall) by the Miami Dolphins, following defensive back Tarvarius Moore (third round, No. 95 overall to San Francisco) and running back Ito Smith (fourth, No. 126 to Atlanta).
This is the first time since 2004 that three Golden Eagles were selected in the draft. That season, it was Rod Davis (fifth round), Greg Brooks (sixth) and Etric Pruitt (sixth) hearing their names called. This season, Southern Miss led Conference USA with its three draft picks.
Armstrong played in 10 games last season, and 4 1/2 of his 22 tackles were for loss. He also had nine pass deflections and seven breakups to go with two interceptions. He had a 46-yard return for a touchdown against Southern and another pickoff versus UTEP. Armstrong had a season-high four tackles (all solo) against Louisiana Tech.
The Bassfield, Miss., native led the Golden Eagles with nine deflections and eight breakups as a junior in 2016, and in 2014 he was named to the C-USA All-Freshman team.
Smith 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.
Moore started all 13 games for the Golden Eagles and led the squad in tackles with 87 (59 solos), which ranked No. 23 in C-USA, and was later named a Pro Football Focus First-Team All-American. He also collected Conference USA honorable mention honors, posting three interceptions for 54 yards, nine pass breakups and a fumble recovery against Kentucky (9/2). Moore tied for No. 6 in the league in passes defended, and one of his interceptions came in overtime at LA Tech, while his others came against Southern (9/9) and Marshall (11/25).
Southern Miss is home for the first two weeks of the 2018 season when it hosts Jackson State (Sept. 1) and ULM (Sept. 8). Season tickets (for as low as $110) are available by visiting SouthernMissTickets.com, calling 1-800-844-TICK, or stopping by the Pat Ferlise Center during normal business hours.