JSF Power Rankings: Best All Time Mizzou Players Named ‘Smith’ [MIZZOU]


If there’s one name that may guarantee that a player will make a significant impact for a University of Missouri athletic team, that name would be “Smith”.  Sure there are about 25 pages of Smith’s in the phone book, but somehow the most common of last names became one of the most dynamic for Tigers basketball and football teams in the last three decades.

For this week’s JSF Power Rankings, we see which Smith takes the top spot…

5.) Aldon Smith
He’s only a redshirt sophomore, but many draftniks concede that even with two years of eligibility left at the college level, if this kid went pro after this season, he’d potentially be a first round NFL pick

It’s not a huge surprise that Mizzou’s defense went from being a whipping boy to being a team strength when it added the 2009 1st Team All American and Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year who racked a school record 11.5 sacks. we’ll toss out a not-so-wild prediction – if he chooses to stay for one or two more years then there is a good chance that the name Aldon Smith will be amongst the most well known in recent Mizzou football history.  And we’re not just talking about the Smiths. 

4.) Justin Smith
With 22.5 sacks in three years, a spot on the First Team All-America squad in 2000, and being drafted 4th overall in 2001 by the Bengals, Justin Smith was pretty much the lone bright spot for the final years of Larry Smith’s tenure as Mizzou head coach.

His NFL career was slow to start but keeps getting better as evidenced by his first NFL Pro Bowl apperance in 2009.

3.) Willie Smith
Smith only played two seasons for the Tigers basketball team – 1974-75 and 1975-76 – but they were both fairly explosive seasons.

Under old Norm Stewart’s guidance, Smith averaged 24 points per game over his two years and was elected as the Big 8 Player of the Year in 1976.  That same year he exploded for a tournament-leading 31 points per game in the NCAA Tournament, with his prolific scoring pushing the Tigers to the Elite Eight. A 95-88 loss to eventual runner-up Michigan kept them from reaching the school’s first Final Four.

2.) Doug Smith
Big Doug spent the full four years on the Mizzou basketball team from 1987 – 1991 and saw his points and rebounds increase each season topping out in 90-91 where he averaged a double-double (23 ppg/10 rpg).

The Tigers’ NCAA Tournament play during his career was good (1989 Elite Eight), bad (upset as a #3 seed by #14 Northern Iowa in 1990 first round) and ugly (sanction held the team out of the tourney in 1991).

But his career was a dominate one on the court, winning back-to-back Big 8 Player of the Year awards in ’90 and ’91 (’91 shared with Byron Houston), leading the Tigers all the way up to the top of the AP poll, getting his number retired at the Hearnes Center and all of that leading to him being taken #6 overall in the 1991 NBA draft.

To make things even better for St. Louis, after his short NBA career fizzled out, Smith joined Erwin Clagget to lead the St. Louis Swarm in the IBL. Seriously.

1.) Brad Smith
8,799 passing yards and 56 touchdowns is not bad career for a QB.  4,289 yards and 45 touchdowns is a solid career for a running back.  To see the same player rack up all those numbers in four years, means Mizzou fans got to witness one of the best dual threat quarterbacks to ever play college football.

The only thing disappointing about Brad Smith was the overall performance by the Tigers teams who went 25-23 with two bowl appearances during his career (2002 – 2005).

But considering the team he took over had been 12-22 over the three previous years, it’s tough to put any of that blame on Smith, even moreso when you look at the impressive records he set during his college career which included becoming the first player in division 1-A history to pass for 8,000 yards and run for 4,000 yards in a career.

Smith was the key component used by Gary Pinkel to help bring Mizzou football back into national relevance and, that alone, earns him the top slot in this week’s JSF Power Rankings.

(Hat tip to @creativereason for the topic.  Give him a follow on Twitter)

E-mail: josh@joesportsfan.com
Twitter: @jbacott


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