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Kentucky in the pros: Alfonso Smith

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Alfonso Smith rushed for 975 yards and eight touchdowns for his UK career (UK Athletics) Alfonso Smith rushed for 975 yards and eight touchdowns for his UK career (UK Athletics)
With the success of the "Where are they now?" series, every so often here at Cat Scratches, we're going to (try to) post an update on a former Kentucky Wildcat in the professional ranks. Because there are so many former Cats playing in the pros, we've decided to pick one a week and offer a brief highlight of what they're doing. The updates will generally coincide with each season's sport. Today is former UK running back Alfonso Smith.

The skinny

Alfonso Smith, a running back for UK football from 2005-2010, is on the preseason roster for the  NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

UK background

Smith was never a full-time starter as a Wildcat, but was a four-year contributor in the backfield and on special teams. As a redshirt freshman in 2006, the Louisville, Ky. native gained 250 yards on 60 carries, scoring a pair of touchdowns. In back-to-back games against Mississippi State and Georgia, he gained a total of 168 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown. As a sophomore, Smith rushed for 149 yards on 7.1 yards per carry. As a junior, Smith played in all 13 games, rushing for 313 yards and two touchdowns. He also emerged as a threat in the passing game, catching 16 passes for 204 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown reception in a 21-20 home win over Arkansas. As a senior, Smith backed up Derrick Locke and was third on the team in rushing with 262 yards. He also returned kicks, totaling 155 return yards for the season.

For his career, he rushed for 974 yards and eight touchdowns on 215 carries. He also tallied 30 catches for 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He made just nine starts in his collegiate career, but his speed and potential earned him NFL potential.

Professional update

The Arizona Cardinals scooped up Smith before the 2010 season. He did not make the regular season roster, but spent the entire year on the Cardinals practice team. When the team drafted running back Ryan Williams out of Virginia Tech in the second round of the April draft, Smith looked destined to play on the practice squad again. However, Williams sustained a season-ending injury in Friday night's preseason game against Green Bay. The Cardinals are considering options for filling the backup running back role behind Chris "Beanie" Wells with Smith figuring in their plans.

Smith leads the team in rushing through the first two preseason games with 69 yards and has impressed his coaching staff. In his last game, Smith had 39 yards and a bruising one yard touchdown run. Wells is known for being a bruising runner, so with his speed Smith could complement Wells as a change of pace. Smith figures to see plenty of chances in the Cardinals' final two preseason outings and has a solid chance of making an NFL roster. 

What they're saying about Smith

Williams' injury creates opportunity for Smith (Craig Morgan, FSArizona)
Smith's UK bio

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