Best FAU Player Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2008 - Rusty Smith
When the FAU Owls earned their first-ever conference championship and bowl game appearance in the 2007 season, sports pundits praised coach Howard Schnellenberger for his return to form and flawless bowl record. Respect to "Old Schneller" is definitely due (see Best Couch), if for nothing other than his hand in developing sophomore quarterback Rusty Smith. In just his first whole season, Smith's stats were godly: 3,688 yards, 32 touchdowns, and only nine interceptions, posting a near-perfect quarterback rating of 141.6. In the New Orleans bowl, Smith absolutely manhandled Memphis, picking apart their beleaguered secondary for 336 yards and five touchdowns. Yes, his stats are impressive, but what makes Smith scary is his poise in the pocket and his game intelligence. He learns fast and seems to improve from mistakes almost immediately. Considering Smith is only a sophomore and has at least two more years of college ball left to continue to develop, he could be bound for a few more bowl wins with FAU — and someday the NFL.