Rod Smith to Speak at 59th Commencement

November 29, 2012

University Relations & Marketing

rod smith portraitJOPLIN, MO (SNS) - Nationally known football star and MSSU alumnus Rod Smith will be the featured speaker at Winter Commencement ceremonies, scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Missouri Southern State University.

Smith graduated from Missouri Southern with many awards. He not only was an All-American in football but was an All-American in the classroom, completing three degrees with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Economics and Finance and Marketing and Management.His accomplishments in the classroom led him to being the recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Award in 1994.

A native of Texarkana, Ark., Smith enjoyed a stellar career at Southern, where he set MIAA records in career receiving yards (3,122) and touchdowns (35). He also still holds school records for catches in a game (13), receiving yards in a game (254), receiving yards in a season (1,439), highest average gain per reception in a season (24.0), touchdown receptions in a season (15) and longest pass reception (98 yards). He finished his career with 158 receptions for 3,122 yards and 34 touchdowns, which is now third all-time in Division II.

Smith helped the Lions to their last MIAA title and NCAA post season appearance when the team went 9-1-1 in 1993. That season, he was named first-team All-America by the Associated Press, Kodak, Football Gazette and NCAA Division II sports information directors. In 1993, Smith caught 63 passes for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns, and was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award, given annually to the top football player in Division II.

Smith entered the NFL with the Broncos as a college free agent on May 3, 1994. He holds Broncos' franchise records for career receptions (849), receiving yards (11,389), touchdown catches (68) and overall touchdowns (71). He also leads all undrafted players in NFL history in every major career-receiving category.

Smith ranks 11th in overall league annals in career receptions, 17th in career receiving yards, and tied for 30th in career receiving touchdowns. In 2005, he became one of 25 players in NFL history to reach 10,000 career yards, a feat he accomplished on Monday Night Football vs. Kansas City (9/26/05). Smith is the first player from the MIAA to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl, and the first to play for two Super Bowl winning teams (Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII).

He posted eight career 1,000 yard seasons, including six straight from 1997-2002. He is also one of just six players to have back-to-back seasons with 100 receptions. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2000, 2001, and 2004. He retired from the NFL this past season.

Smith was inducted into the Missouri Southern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003 and is the only football player in Southern history to have his number (9) retired. He has also been inducted into the Division II Football Hall of Fame, as well as the Arkansas, Missouri, and Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

In September of this year, Smith became the 23rd member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame. He was joined at Sports Authority Field by members of his family, many teammates from the 1997 and 1998 seasons and several other Ring of Fame members.

"It's all about every person who has supported me throughout my life," he said.

Smith is listed as the seventh-best all time on the NFL network's list as he leads all undrafted players in NFL history in every major career receiving category.

Rod is an Independent Distributor for Organo Gold, reaching the rank of Diamond.

Rod has three children, Vanessa, Roderick, and Devin.