TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Former Florida A&M wide receiver Xavier Smith has never been short on accolades. All-MEAC. All-SWAC. All-American. Rattler Nation has known his talent, and now the country knows it too. Stellar showings at both the HBCU Combine and Legacy Bowl have Xavier's name in lights, and now, he's looking to hear his name on Draft Day.
"If he doesn't have a shot, I don't know who does," said head coach Willie Simmons. "He just embodies everything you'd want a student athlete to be."
Smith's story didn't start with a scholarship. It started with a walk-on opportunity.
"My mom, she graduated from FAMU, and at that time, my brother was playing football at FAMU," he said. "I wanted the chance to play with my brother again, and also, keep that legacy going on."
A legacy he now has the chance to add to.
"Guys like Earl Holmes and Ken Riley, just want to follow those guys footsteps and become one of those legends who came from FAMU."
"We always knew the type of talent Xavier was, we got to see it every single day, but to put it on a national stage, was great for him," added Simmons.
The football world has been put on notice. An All-American, who's shown everyone why. At last month's HBCU Combine, Smith ran two sub-4.4 40 yard dashes. At the HBCU Legacy Bowl? Eight catches, including the game's only touchdown.
"I understand people are cheering, people are clapping, but the works not done, the job's not finished. For me, it's just a constant work in progress. Each and every day, I just want to continue to work, and continue to work. One day, I'll look up and then everything I've worked for will be right in my face."
"I've done this for 18 years, and I don't think I've met a more dedicated and committed football player," added Simmons. "He checks all the boxes. He's a guy that's a hard worker, he's unselfish, he loves the game, he studies the game, he has humility, and he's a playmaker."
Who has a shot to hear his name called in this year's NFL Draft.
"For me, all I wanted was an opportunity and I knew once I got that opportunity that was my time to showcase that I belong where I'm at now."
One shot, for the once walk-on without a scholarship.
"This is a special place and anything I can give and all the work I put in is because of FAMU," he said. "They drove me to be the best I can be."
Like an All-American receiver, whose next opportunity awaits. The 2023 NFL Draft begins April 27th.