Florida Gators make most of Emmitt Smith visit
Jim McElwain couldn’t hide his excitement Monday.
But it really didn’t have much to do with No. 11 Florida’s win over then-No. 3 Ole Miss. Instead, it had to do with meeting former Gators star Emmitt Smith.
“Shoot, I was a little giddy,” McElwain said. “I had a chance to meet one of the best ever at his position. Never would have thought that would happen.”
The NFL Hall of Fame running back made a rare visit to Gainesville to attend Florida’s game against Ole Miss on Saturday. Smith, who played for the Gators from 1987 through 1989 and ranks second in program history with 3,928 career rushing yards, spoke to the team on Friday.
Smith even debated with the referees over a penalty during Florida’s 38-10 win over Ole Miss.
“Having an NFL great and Gator great come back and share some knowledge and some of his experience with us, it was awesome because you don’t get that everywhere,” Florida safety Marcus Maye said. “To have Emmitt on the sideline, having that performance in front of him, he was excited to see it.”
Smith finished his professional career as the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards (18,355) and rushing touchdowns (164).
“I was getting dressed and I just had happened to turn right and Emmitt Smith is sitting down right there,” Gators defensive end Alex McCalister said. “My heart dropped for a second. I was like, ‘Dawg, Emmitt Smith is really right here in our locker room just chillin.’ That’s big, that’s big for everybody, though. Former Gators coming back and helping us out, talking to us here and there. I love that.”