Class of 1985

Neil Smith

HometownNew Orleans, LA
High schoolMcDonogh 35

Strong, athletic and impactful, Neil Smith rates as one of Nebraska's best pass rushers. He did so from the defensive tackle position. And that was just a taste of what was to come.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder out of New Orleans amassed 133 total tackles, including 14.5 sacks, in his varsity career. As a junior, Smith's totals were 49 and 5 while sharing time with Chris Spachman and Lee Jones. Smith really turned heads as a senior, posting 65 total tackles and 7.5 sacks, earning first-team All-America honors from the Sporting News and second team from the Associated Press.

In 1987, he boosted his professional draft stock with a huge game — 12 tackles, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal — in a victory at Colorado in the regular-season finale, then was the defensive MVP in a Fiesta Bowl loss to Florida State.

Smith's Huskers couldn't get past Oklahoma's Big Eight champions in those three years, but he found solace in an illustrious NFL career.

Kansas City's first-round draft choice in 1988, Smith moved to defensive end. He posted 85.5 of his 104.5 career sacks in nine seasons with the Chiefs, for whom he appeared in nine playoff games. He was selected to the Pro Bowl five straight years with K.C. (1991-95) and in 1997, his first year with Denver.

He played on Super Bowl champions in 1997 and 1998 with Denver in the twilight of his career. He closed out a 13-year career with San Diego in 2000. Through 2014, Smith was tied for 26th all-time in NFL sacks.

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