The Joplin Globe
Former Denver Bronocs Pro Bowl wide receiver and Missouri Southern All-American Rod Smith will be the featured speaker at winter commencement ceremonies on Dec. 15 at MSSU.
Off the field, Smith earned bachelor of science degrees in business administration, economics and finance, and marketing and management. He received the Outstanding Graduate Award in 1994.
Smith also excelled on the gridiron for the Lions. He set MIAA records in career receiving yards and touchdowns with 3,122 yards and 35 TDs. He also still owns school records for catches in a game (13), receiving yards in a game (254), receiving yards in a season (1,439), highest average per reception in a season (24.0), touchdown receptions in a season (15) and longest pass reception (98 yards). He finished his career at Missouri Southern with 158 catches for 3,122 yards and 34 touchdowns, which stands at third all-time in NCAA Divison II.
The Texarkana, Ark., native helped the Lions earn their MIAA title and NCAA postseason appearance in 1993 when the team finished 9-1-1. Smith was a Harlon Hill Award finalist, catching 63 balls for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Smith entered the NFL with the Broncos as a free agent in 1994 and went on to become one of the most successful undrafted players in history. He holds Broncos’ records for career receptions (849), receiving yards (11,389), touchdown catches (68) and overall touchdowns (71). He leads all undrafted players in NFL history in every major career receiving category.
He is the first player from the MIAA to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl and the first to play for two Super Bowl winning teams.
Smith posted eight career 1,000-yard seasons, including six straight from 1997-2002. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2000, 2001 and 2004.
He has been inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame, the Missouri Southern Athletics Hall of Fame, the Division II Football Hall of Fame and state hall of fames in Arkansas, Missouri and Colorado. Smith is the only football player in MSSU history to have his number (9) retired.
Smith is an independent distributor for Organo Gold, reaching the rank of Diamond.
He has three children, Vanessa, Roderick and Devin.
The commencement is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on Dec. 15.