Akili Smith
Smith at Calgary Stampeders training camp in 2007.
No. 11, 17     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1975-08-21) August 21, 1975 (age 44)
Place of birth: San Diego, California
Career information
College: Oregon
NFL Draft: 1999 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Cincinnati Bengals ( 1999 2002)
Career highlights and awards
* Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year (1998)
Pass attempts     461
Pass completions     215
Percentage     46.6
TDINT     5–13
Passing yards     2,212
QB rating     52.8
Stats at
Akili Smith
Outfielder / First baseman
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Career statistics
Batting average.176
Home runs4
Stolen bases2
* Gulf Coast League Pirates (19931994)

Kabisa Akili Maradufu Smith (born August 21, 1975) is a former American and Canadian football quarterback. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round (3rd overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft, the third quarterback in the first three choices, behind Tim Couch (Cleveland Browns), and Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia Eagles). He played college football at Oregon.

Smith also played for the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Frankfurt Galaxy, and Calgary Stampeders.

Early and college yearsEdit

Given the name Kabisa Akili Maradufu Smith (in Swahili, "kabisa" means "completely," "akili" means "absolute," and "maradufu" means "double" or "a Gemini twin") by his parents Glorida Bryant and Ray Smith,[1] Akili Smith was born in San Diego, California. Smith attended Abraham Lincoln High School in San Diego, the alma mater of Marcus Allen and Terrell Davis.[2]

Smith was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh round (206th overall) of the 1993 Major League Baseball draft. He played for the Gulf Coast League Pirates of the Gulf Coast League from 1993–1994, and the Erie SeaWolves of the New York–Penn League in 1995.

Due to low SAT scores, he had to attend Grossmont College, a junior college in the San Diego area for two years,[1] prior to transferring to the University of Oregon. Smith came to the foreground of draft discussions because of his performance in his senior season at Oregon, throwing 30 touchdown passes in only 11 starts in college.


Season Passing[3] Rushing[3]
Comp Att Yards Comp% TD INT Carries Yards TD
1997 108 200 1,385 54.0 13 7 89 183 2
1998 215 371 3,763 58.0 32 8 82 184 4
Career Total 323 571 5,148 56.6 45 15 171 367 6

Professional careerEdit

In the 1999 NFL Draft, a year in which five quarterbacks were drafted in the first round, Smith was the third quarterback and third player selected overall, by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Pre-draft measureables
Ht WtHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP<th>Wonderlic</th>
6 ft 2¾ in 227 lb9¾ in 4.72 s 1.63 s 2.73 s 4.29 s 6.99 s 34 in 9 ft 6 in <td align="center">37</td>

Cincinnati BengalsEdit

Smith scored a 16 out of 50 on the NFL-administered Wonderlic test when he first took the exam in 1998. His agent Leigh Steinberg hired a tutor to help improve his score for the 1999 scouting combine, and he scored a 37 on the second try.[1]

Prior to the draft, there was an effort by New Orleans Saints' head coach Mike Ditka and management to get the Cincinnati Bengals' high draft position so the Saints could get Ricky Williams. The final offer, which was refused by Bengals management, was for nine draft picks, several extra in that year as well as many the next year. Instead of taking the trade, the Bengals stayed with their initial decision to draft Smith, who, while athletic, (he had also played two years of minor-league baseball and ran a 4.66 40-yard dash[4]) was still largely unproven, having only succeeded at the college level for one season.

Smith missed a large portion of training camp during his rookie season in 1999 due to contract disputes. On August 24, 1999, he signed a seven-year contract worth up to $56 million with a $10.8 million signing bonus.[5]

Despite showing athleticism in his early games, he failed to grasp the Bengals playbook fully, and never established himself with the team. His offensive coordinator from 2001–2002, Bob Bratkowski, said Smith "wasn't as diligent as he should have been" regarding his film and playbook study habits.[6] During the four years he was with the Bengals, he started in only 17 games and threw just five touchdown passes next to 13 interceptions, eventually leading to his release on May 31, 2003, after riding the bench mostly during the previous two years.

Later careerEdit

In 2003, Smith tried out for the Green Bay Packers, as Brett Favre's backup. He was, however, unsuccessful there and was later released.[7] In 2005, he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a stint in NFL Europe where he started four games for the Frankfurt Galaxy.

On April 28, 2007, Smith signed a two-year contract with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, where he was expected to compete for the starting quarterback position with another former NFL player, Henry Burris.[8] After an unimpressive debut in an exhibition game against the Edmonton Eskimos, Smith played well in the final exhibition against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Though listed going into the game as the third-string quarterback, he completed three touchdown passes in only one half of play, including one to former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marc Boerigter.

In his first regular season action, replacing Burris in the second quarter on July 12, Smith struggled against the Toronto Argonauts. He finished 6-of-10 for 63 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. He also lost one fumble. He was then pulled at the end of the half. After an unimpressive showing against the Roughriders on October 8, 2007, going 4-of-12, for 37 yards, along with the impending return of a healthy Burris, the Stampeders released Smith on October 10, 2007.

NFL statisticsEdit

Year Team GP Com Att Pct Yds Avg Lng TD Int Rtg Fum
1999 CIN 7 80 153 52.3 805 5.26 39 2 6 55.6 2
2000 CIN 12 118 267 44.2 1,253 4.69 46 3 6 52.9 10
2001 CIN 2 5 8 62.5 37 4.63 14 0 0 73.4 0
2002 CIN 1 12 33 36.4 117 3.55 24 0 1 34.5 1
Career 22 215 461 46.6 2,212 4.80 46 5 13 52.8 13

Post-football careerEdit

After retiring from football, Smith was the quarterbacks coach for Grossmont College.[6] Smith was a deacon at a Missionary Baptist church and played football for "God's House", a flag football team.[10]

In March 2010, Smith joined the University of California's football staff as a graduate assistant to work with the offense. Cal head coach Jeff Tedford previously coached Smith at Oregon when he was offensive coordinator.[11]

In 2012, Smith took over as quarterbacks coach for St. Augustine High School in San Diego.[12] Smith planned to finish the college degree that he started at the University of Oregon.[13] As of September 2014, Smith was coaching football for The Bishop's School in La Jolla, California, and was still 16 credits away from graduating from Oregon.[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hobson, Geoff (April 25, 1999). "Like father, like Akili". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  2. "Special Feature on Lincoln High School's History". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Akili Smith". Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  4. "Akili Smith, DS #4 QB, Oregon". Retrieved 2009-01-16.
  5. Sullivan, Tim (August 25, 1999). "Big payday could be Akili's heel". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sullivan, Tim (April 25, 2009). "A decade of hindsight guides former NFL QB Akili Smith". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  7. "Tight end Tyrone Davis also released". ESPN. August 26, 2003.
  8. Pasquarelli, Len (April 28, 2007). "Smith, out of NFL for two years, signs in CFL". Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  9. "Akili Smith Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  10. Sports Illustrated, July 2009, "Where Are They Now?: Akili Smith"
  11. "Smith hired to work with offense". March 13, 2010. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  12. "St. Augustine receives boost from former NFL quarterback". Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  13. Olivieri, Anthony. "Former draft bust Akili Smith has a surprising new path". Yahoo!Sports. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  14. Greif, Andrew (September 12, 2014). "Former Oregon Ducks quarterback Akili Smith on Marcus Mariota: 'The kid is absolutely flawless'". Retrieved May 25, 2019.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit


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