Derrell Smith, NFL star, now “meatball king,” comes to the LaunchPad October 19 at 12:30 p.m.

Derrell Smith

A special treat this Orange Central Weekend will be a Fireside Chat, Friday, October 19, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Blackstone LaunchPad with, alum Derrell Smith, founder and CEO of  99EATS, and former NFL linebacker and fullback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Houston Texans.

The event is co-sponsored by the Syracuse University Entrepreneurship Club.

Smith is the founder and CEO of 99Eats – a food company with a goal of connecting people through food and experiences. Under the 99Eats umbrella, the business sells award-winning sauces, has a meatball stand at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY (currently on break until next season), hosts monthly dinner salons – in which guests discuss social issues impacting their communities – and has an online video series with Bed Bath and Beyond.

You may have even seen him on Tastemade.  His videos have a huge viral following.

How did he get here? A natural competitor, Derrell once found himself stacked up against a group of fierce, Italian grandmothers in a match to see who could make the greatest meatball. Despite the decades of influence and family history that went into his competitors’ meatballs, Derrell’s finished product earned him a top spot.

Needless to say, the rest is history.

Smith’s vision as founder and CEO of 99EATS is to connect people through food and experiences.

Since its inception in November of 2016, 99EATS has worked with numerous brands including Hennessy, Hot97, Tastemade, and Bed Bath and Beyond to name a few.

After receiving a full athletic scholarship to play football at Syracuse University, Derrell was an all conference performer, team captain and earned dual undergrad degrees, as well as a Masters of Arts in Advertising from the Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Derrell’s entrepreneurial prowess is a result of spending years working in advertising, as well as a brief NFL career which gave him the courage and connections to take a leap of faith, and the wisdom to realize that any dream is attainable with the right focus, commitment, plan and execution.

Derrell sits on the young advisory council for the Martin J. Whitman Business School at Syracuse, advises their athletics department on alumni relations, is an active member of the NFLPA alumni association and is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity inc.

Derrell is the eldest of seven siblings, and was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Come by the Blackstone Launchpad at 12:30 PM to hang out with the gang at Blackstone, the Entrepreneurship Club and the meatball king himself!  Watch him make amazing meatballs here!