Former Florida Atlantic University quarterback Rusty Smith has fulfilled his dream of being drafted in the National Football League. Smith was selected in the sixth round by the Tennessee Titans on Saturday.
Smith becomes FAU’s first player selected in the NFL draft. He was the eighth quarterback taken and fourth player taken from the Sun Belt Conference.
The 6-foot-4-inch, 231 pound, Jacksonville, FL native enjoyed a standout career that saw the quarterback surpass 10,000 career passing yards during the 2009 season and lead the Owls to consecutive bowl game victories (2007-2008). In fact, he was named the game’s Most Valuable Player in each of those contests – 2007 New Orleans Bowl and 2008 Motor City Bowl.
Smith’s other accomplishments include 2007 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, National Player of the Week following FAU’s victory over the University of Minnesota in 2007 – the first ever win for a SBC school over a Big Ten opponent.
"About two minutes before (the call) it came across the screen, they called and asked 'how would you like to be a Tennessee Titan', and I said I'd love to be a Titan", said Smith
“My heart was racing and I was excited when I saw the area code come on my phone,
Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger praised the hard work and efforts of Smith following the Owls Spring Game.
“I am happy for him, his family, his wife, for Florida Atlantic football, and all those that helped him achieve his dream,” Schellenberger said.
Smith worked five years playing in a pro-style offensive at FAU. That was definitely something the Titans liked in Smith.
“Rusty is big and strong and can make all the throws,” said Tennessee Titans’ Head Coach Jeff Fisher.
Smith also noted that the offensive system that the Titans run is very similar to the one of the Owls.
"I think I fit well with the coaches. I got along well with them. Their system is very similar to what we run here at FAU. They use a lot of two tight ends; which we do the same as well. I think I'll be able to get there and learn a lot, and hopefully contribute down the line."
Smith will now compete in a three-day Rookie Mini-Camp in Tennessee, starting on Thursday, April 29.