Photo courtesy of the Carolina Panthers and the National Football League
BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Former Union (Ky.) running back Armond Smith continues to find a home in the NFL as he has earned a spot on the Carolina Panthers' 53-man roster.
Smith is listed third on the Panthers' depth at running back behind DeAngelo Williams and Kenjon Barner. He is also listed second on special teams as a kickoff return specialist behind Ted Ginn but ahead of Barner.
This is Smith's third season in the NFL. In 2011, he played in three games for the Cleveland Browns, gaining two yards on three carries. Smith spent much of the 2012 season as a member of the Panthers' practice squad before being added to the roster for the final four games, seeing action in each of those games.
Smith is the first player from Union to play in the NFL.
During his senior season at Union in 2010, Smith led the Mid-South Conference in rushing, averaging 125.1 yards per game en route to being named MSC West Offensive Player of the Year. He also led all running backs with 16 rushing touchdowns. Smith was MSC Offensive Player of the Week twice during the season and MSC Special Teams Player of the Week once as well as the NAIA Offensive Player of the Week once.
Smith set numerous program records including most rushing yards in a game (312), most rushing yards in a season (1,376), most rushing touchdowns in a game (five), most rushing touchdowns in a season (16), most points scored in a game (30) and most points scored in a season (102 - 16 rushing touchdowns and one kickoff return touchdown).
Following his 312-yard, five-touchdown performance in the 84-55 win over Bethel (Tenn.) on Oct. 9, 2010, Smith was featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" section.
For his career, Smith rushed for a total of 1,404 yards and 16 touchdowns on 157 carries in two season. He ranks eighth on the Bulldogs' all-time rushing list.
Carolina will open the 2013 season on Sunday at home against the Seattle Seahawks.