MOBILE, AL (WDAM) - Hundreds of NFL personnel were huddled inside Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Tuesday as the Reese's Senior Bowl held its first practices ahead of Saturday's all-star game.
Former Golden Eagle running back Ito Smith represents Southern Miss in Mobile, Alabama – the first USM player since Jamie Collins in 2012 to participate in the Senior Bowl.
Smith hopes to catch the attention of some NFL scouts.
"Just go out there and showcase to the NFL teams that I can do everything," Smith said. "I can catch out the backfield, I can run the ball, I can block. I'm just a complete back. I think I have great vision. A play can happen at any time when I have the ball in my hands. I'm always trying to score."
Smith did plenty of scoring in his four years at Southern Miss. His 44 all-purpose touchdowns are the second most in school history – two shy of Damion Fletcher's record.
The USM leader in career all-purpose yards (6,512), Smith believes his time as a Golden Eagle prepared him for the NFL.
"A Southern Miss back, they have to be tough because the team's going to lean on the running backs that are going to run the ball at Southern Mis," Smith said. "We're a hard-nosed team so just learning how to be tough. Adversity, knowing no matter what comes your way, just knowing you always gotta fight."
Smith has always had to fight for respect. A three-star recruit coming out of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile, the 5-foot-9 running back proved his worth at Southern Miss. Smith is the tenth player in NCAA history to eclipse 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving in a career.
The Mobile native's football dreams began in this city and he hopes they continue following this weekend's showcase.
"Come back home in front of all my friends and family man, it's a great opportunity for me," Smith said. "I'm blessed man, I've been working hard my whole career and [it's] just a blessing. I'm just going out there, leaving everything on the field and just getting better. I'm out here getting coached by some great coaches. Just soaking it all in what they're coaching and just getting better."