4-star athlete E.J. Smith, son of NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith, commits to Stanford

Nick Bromberg
EJ Smith (center) chose Stanford on Wednesday. (via ESPN2)
EJ Smith (center) chose Stanford on Wednesday. (via ESPN2)

Four-star athlete E.J. Smith chose to not go to the same school where his famous father played.

Smith, the No. 3 running back in the country and the No. 21 prospect in the state of Texas, signed with Stanford on Wednesday. He picked the Cardinal over Georgia, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Florida, the school where his dad Emmitt played collegiately.

Smith signed in a ceremony at his high school, Dallas Jesuit, with his parents by his side. He revealed his choice by picking the Stanford hat off the table from among the other schools in a ceremony that was broadcast on ESPN2.

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As E.J. wore the Stanford hat, Emmitt jokingly grabbed the Florida hat from the table and put it on.

"I can wear this hat but he doesn't have to wear this hat,” the former Dallas Cowboys running back and the NFL’s all-time leading rusher told ESPN2. “His daddy went there, but that doesn't mean that my son has to go there. At the end of the day, my son has his own journey and it is his journey, not my journey. For him to do the things that are best for him is what we teach all of our children. I'm proud of him for standing up and being the man that he is and the man that he will continue to become."

E.J. Smith is part of a top-25 class for the Cardinal as it looks to bounce back from a dreadful and injury-plagued 4-8 season in 2019. Smith, who wore his dad’s No. 22 at Dallas Jesuit, played both running back and receiver in high school. From Rivals.com:

As a runner, Smith has the ability to make defenders whiff in space. He has elite speed and the acceleration to get to that level and has shown that he can turn a small gain into a long touchdown. Smith possesses elite agility to find running lanes or escape to the outside. He's quick to the edge but also powerful enough to run between the tackles.

Naturally, Smith is a bonafide weapon as a receiver out of the backfield. He's perfectly capable of lining up out wide or in the slot, where he's a sharp route-runner with elite hands. He battles for contested balls and makes difficult grabs with defenders on him. This season, Smith showed the ability to work wonders in red-zone situations when defenses are keying on him.

Stanford has 18 commitments so far, including five-star offensive lineman Myles Hinton. The Georgia native is the No. 4 offensive tackle in the state of Georgia.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

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