Some cheerful news to follow up on a horrible story: Southern Miss linebacker Martez Smith, one of three players shot outside a nightclub in Hattiesburg in mid-November, received his college diploma over the weekend. Paralyzed form the waist down since the incident, Smith was wheeled across the stage to a standing ovation:
"Nothing in the world could stop me from being there to get my diploma," Smith said Thursday. "That's been one of my goals for a long, long time."
Football is not currently an option for Smith, but he's still very much a part of the team, and will be traveling with the Golden Eagles to watch them take on Louisville in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl:
"I'd be at that game if I had to roll myself all the way down there," Smith said, smiling.
A reporter mentioned that it's a 726-mile trip, shortest route.
"Then, I'll need to get an early start," Smith said.
Smith and teammates Deddrick Jones and Tim Green, were all shot during a scuffle outside Remington's Hunt Club on November 13. Five days later, a man named Travis Brown was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault. As of last week, he's still cooling his heels in jail, along with five other suspects arrested in connection with the incident.
All three players have since been discharged from the hospital. Green can't speak after being shot in the throat, but Fedora says he expects he'll be able to play again, as will Jones.