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The National Football League (NFL) has seen the best players grace its stage every year from high schools and college across the country. And while some arrive with great promise and yet turn out to be overhyped, others go on to etch their names in the folklore and history of American football. Harrison Smith is definitely not in the first category described and we may yet see him become the latter category. Surely, only time will tell!
He was born Harrison J. Smith on February 2, 1989, in Augusta, Georgia but his family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee when he was just five. He plays his pro football for the Minnesota Vikings, (who he has been with since he was drafted in 2012) and has shown interest in other sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, karate, and track (jumping).
His parents are Dr. Steven J. Smith, a plastic surgeon in Knoxville, and Susan Smith. Harrison has three siblings – a sister, Natalie, and two brothers, Garrett and Stuart Smith. Fortunately, he is not the only athlete in the family as his siblings seem to have also inherited their athletic gene from there parents.
Before becoming a plastic surgeon, his father played basketball in high school. He attended Oak Ridge (Tenn.) High School and he captained the school’s basketball team. Smith’s mother, Susan, also played basketball and went on trials with Pat Summit’s first team at Tennessee in 1974 but opted out to focus on other endeavors. Garrett played basketball and participated in track and field in his high school days while Stuart Smith played football and golf at Furman University.
Like his older brother, Garrett, Harrison attended Knoxville Catholic High School in Knoxville, Tennessee where he played basketball, football and also participated in track and field events. He enrolled at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where he focused on football with the Fighting Irish. Harrison Smith would later graduate from Mendoza College of Business with a degree in management-entrepreneurship.
Harrison Smith’s Career
Harrison was a star in high school. He was on the basketball team, the football team and he was also on the athletics team for track and field. He was outstanding in all the sports he was part of. In 2006, he was named Gatorade Football Player of the Year in Tennessee after he made two interceptions, 61 tackles, and two tackles for loss. He also caught 23 passes for 453 yards and six touchdowns and gained 1,340 yards rushing to go with 19 touchdowns in his senior year.
In track and field, Harrison Smith jumped 6.54 meters (21′ 5″) in the long jump (personal best record), 14.15 meters (46′ 5″) in the triple jump (personal best record), and 2.03 meters (6.8′) in the high jump (career-best record).
At Norte Dame, he chose football over other sports and he played as a linebacker in his freshman and sophomore years but switched and played as a safety in his junior year (even though he reverted to the linebacker position for the last 6 games of the season). He would go on to play as a safety in his senior year and even at a pro level.
Pro Career – Minnesota Vikings
Smith came out of college with the world at his feet. He was one of the hottest properties coming out of college into the 2012 NFL Draft. Several sports websites had him topping their various ratings and it was all looking good for him at the time. It was almost a certainty that he would be picked in the first round of the draft.
In the 2012 NFL Combine, he had a lot of factors going on for him – his size, consistency, play recognition, athletic ability, tackling, and so on. His only negative review came from his man to man coverage ability. He signed a four-year deal worth $7.13 million (a sign-on bonus of $3.63 million and a guaranteed payment of $5.78 million) with the Minnesota Vikings as a safety after he was drafted by the team as the 29th overall in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
In the Vikings setup, he was the third down the pecking order of starting free safeties, with the others being Andrew Sendejo and Jamarca Sanford. He, however, found some game time and finished his first professional season with one sack, two touchdowns, three interceptions, and 104 combined tackles. The next season was better as he was the first choice of free safety. However, he suffered an injury to his foot as the season progressed which made him start only seven games all season.
In 2015, the Vikings activated his one extra year option in his initial contract and offered him a one year deal worth $5.28 million for the 2016 football season. That same season, he played in his first Pro Bowl game, replacing Earl Thomas who was injured in the lineup. He would later sign a contract extension with the Vikings – a 5-year deal – worth $51.25 million including a $10 million signing bonus and a guaranteed $28.57 million.
Harrison Smith was voted to a consecutive Pro Bowl appearance when he was selected for the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl as announced on December 20, 2016. It was the first time he would be selected as a Pro Bowl first-team member and his second in total.
Who is Harrison Smith’s Wife, Girlfriend?
Harrison Smith is not married yet but is rumored to have dated Madison Bankston. Madison (born Madison Bayless Bankston), who hails from Tennessee, went to Albany High School before graduating from the University of Tennessee in 2009.
She is the account manager at SumTotal Systems. She also functions as the assistant director of Friends of Literacy. Her father, Edward Bankston died in 2013 in an accident (motorcycle) while her mother is Kim Hudgens.
Quick Facts – Height, Weight, Body Measurements
Name: Harrison Smith
Birthdate: February 2, 1989
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia
Hand Size: 101/4
Arm Length: 325/8
Height: 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m)
Weight: 99 kg (218 lbs)
Net Worth: $20 – 21 million