April 24, 2010
BOCA RATON, FL - 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 it came across the TV screen that the Titans were on the clock I got a phone call from Tennessee and they asked me if I would like to be a Titan," said Smith about the draft process. "I said I'd love to be a Titan."
"My heart was racing and I was excited when I saw the area code come on my phone," said Smith.
Head Coach Howard Schellenberger praised the hard work and efforts of Smith following the Owls Spring Game.
"I am happy for him (Smith), his family, new wife (Nicole), for Florida Atlantic football and all those that helped him achieve his dream," said Howard Schellenberger, FAU's head football coach.
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.
"Their system is similar to ours because they run a lot of two tight end sets with a fullback and it feels like a good fit," said Smith. Smith will now compete in a three-day Rookie Mini-Camp in Tennessee, starting on Thursday, April 29.
Florida Atlantic has been playing football for 10 years with the Owls competing at the Division I level for four of those seasons.
Note: Rusty Smith is the ninth FAU player to be invited to a NFL summer camp: Brian Pare (Chicago Bears), Chris Laskowski (Indianapolis Colts), Kevin Fischer (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Jared Allen (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Willie Hughley (Cleveland Browns), Nello Faulk (Jacksonville Jaguars), Taheem Acevedo (Kansas City Chiefs), Frantz Joseph (Oakland Raiders), Jervonte Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles), Rusty Smith (Tennessee Titans), William Rose (Tennessee Titans), Jason Harmon (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Chris Bonner (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).