USM's Smith says he’s headed to Senior Bowl

USM's Smith says he’s headed to Senior Bowl

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Growing up in Mobile, Ala., Ito Smith attended his fair share of the Senior Bowl, college football's premier all-star showcase.

Now, it appears the University of Southern Mississippi senior running back will be playing in one.

Smith took to Twitter Saturday night to say that he had received an invitation to play in the 2018 Reese's Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

"God is Good," Smith tweeted Saturday. "From attending this game and being excited to meet the players, to being a part of this event. What a blessing!"

The game, pitting North and South all-star teams against one another, will kick off at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 27.

Rosters will not be announced until Jan. 17.

Smith, a prep standout at McGill-Toolen High School in Mobile, would become the first Golden Eagle to appear in the game in five years. Former USM linebacker Jamie Collins was tapped after the 2012 season and played in the 2013 Senior Bowl.

Smith would be the first USM running back selected since Tony Smith played in the 1991 Senior Bowl. Other USM running backs who were selected for the game: Sammy Winder (1982); Ben Garry (1978); Johnny Skoplan (1960); Bucky McElroy (1954); Scrappy Hart (1952); Bubba Phillips (1951).

In addition to the prestige of the game, the 5-foot-9, 195-pound Smith will spend the week leading up to the game practicing under the direction of National Football League coaches and before an array of NFL  scouts and front office decision makers.

CBSSports.com has Smith ranked as the 10th-best running back prospect and the 73rd-ranked player overall in the 2018 NFL draft. Smith is the lone back among the top dozen on CBSSports.com's list not from a Power Five conference program or Notre Dame.

A first-team All-Conference USA selection, Smith has helped USM to an 8-4 record and an invitation to the Dec. 27 Independence Bowl where the Golden Eagles will face Florida State University.

Smith logged his third, consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season with 1,323 yards on 232 carries and 13 touchdowns. He ranks third on the team with 36 catches for 370 yards and two touchdowns.

Smith became just the 10th Football Bowl Subdivision player in NCAA history to have at least 4,000 yards rushing and at least 1,000 yards receiving over his career. He has rushed for 4,444 yards and 42 touchdowns at USM and caught 136 passes for 1,420 yards and seven scores.