This article first appeared in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on February 27, 2020.
Jaylon Smith is living the American dream.
Smith played college football for Notre Dame, where just last year during the off-season, he completed his degree after signing a five-year contract extension with America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, making him the third highest-paid middle linebacker in the NFL.
The 24-year old grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he was a letterman in football, basketball and track. During his senior year in high school, he won the Butkus Award, which is given to the best high school linebacker in the country, as was also named the Mr. Football award-winner for the state of Indiana.
By 2013, Smith was playing college ball for Notre Dame, where he won the FBS Independent Co-Defensive Player of the Year and second-team All-American by the Associated Press by his sophomore year.
The most poignant year of Smith’s college career came in 2015 when he racked up 115 tackles and won another Butkus Award. However, during the Fiesta Bowl game against Ohio State, Smith was diagnosed with tears to his ACL and LCL.
After undergoing successful knee surgery he decided to enter the 2016 NFL draft, foregoing his senior year at Notre Dame. It was a gamble that paid off for the athlete because he ended up the 34th overall draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys.
Four short years later, Smith uses his fame as the Dallas Cowboys’ #54 for charitable speaking engagements. Along with his brother Rod Smith, who plays for the Oakland Raiders, the duo holds their annual “Earn Your Stripes” football camp in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The brothers believe in paying it forward to youths in a community that played a part in helping the Smith brothers become athletic sensations.
Smith has also recently launched his own affordable and trendy line of sunglasses, Clear Eye View (CEV) Collection and the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI), which helps entrepreneurs from underprivileged areas across the U.S. connect with resources and investors to help grow their businesses.
Although Jaylon Smith and the Dallas Cowboys didn’t play last month in Super Bowl LIV, it’s only a matter of time until this young talent is having his turn breaking records at the Big Game.
We wanted to know what the football phenom and super nice guy never leaves home without—also known as his Texas Essentials.
My computer comes with me everywhere so I can access documents and opportunities.
I’m always listening to music or podcasts.
They are the perfect accessory to any outfit and my personal line of sunglasses and glasses.
“How Money Works” and “Get a Grip” Books
I’m always furthering my knowledge and pushing myself to be better.
Keeps me organized and lets me write down thoughts and ideas.