Saturday, March 21, 2009

1994 Classic #35 Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith came to the University of Houston in 1992 after playing two years at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. He led the Cougars in rushing in 1992 with 845 yards and again in 1993 with 417 yards despite a shoulder injury. His biggest game came against Texas in 1992 when he ran for 159 yards in a losing effort. He is included in the UH record books with the fifth most yards per rush in a season (7.6 in 1992) and third most average yards per play in a season (7.61 in 1992)

Smith was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round of the 1993 draft. Other Cougars in the 1993 draft were Allen Aldridge (2nd round) and Ryan McCoy (6th).

Lamar played in the NFL from 1994 to 2003 with the Seahawks, Saints, Dolphins, and Panthers. For his career, he rushed for 4,853 yards on 1,322 carries. His most notable NFL game was when he set the record for most rushes in a playoff game with 40 in 2000 for Miami against Indianapolis. He gained 209 yards rushing, another 18 yards receiving, and scored two touchdowns as the Dolphins won 23-17.

Today's collectible is the 1994 Classic #35. Classic was primarily considered a company focused on Draft Picks and Prospects. This card is an example of this focus featuring Smith as a Draft Pick in his UH uniform.

The thing that stands out to me most is the helmet. I've grown to accept the current UH logo, but I LOVE the classic logo on this card. Unlike the current logo which resembles Kentucky's, the classic logo is distinctly Houston's. There is no confusing it with any other school. As a branding effort, being unique is a very desirable trait. Plus using the skinny logo for athletics would be consistent with the university's use of the logo for academics. A consistent logo and marketing strategy is critical for branding.

The back lists Lamar's collegiate statistics and a brief history of his college career and skills. The comparison to UH and Cowboys great Robert Newhouse is a little of a stretch. Newhouse could be argued as the greatest running back in UH history. Smith was a solid player, but what he accomplished at UH was not comparable to what Newhouse accomplished.

This card also has a Gold variation. This variation has gold foil in the bottom left corner and for the NFL draft logo.

A special thanks to Victor for the quality scans.

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