DeKALB – Northern Illinois defensive end Sutton Smith continues to pile on the national recognition.
He was named a member of the Associated Press Second Team All-American on Monday. Smith, a sophomore from St. Charles, Missouri, also earned a spot on the Football Writers Association of America’s All-American First Team.
“I wouldn’t have what I have without the guys next to me,” Smith said last week after being named Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the year. “If it were just about me, I’d lose a lot of games.”
Smith is the fifth player in NIU history to be named to the Associated Press first or second team, and is the first Huskie defender to earn the honor. The Huskies’ only first or second team Associated Press All-Americans were Jordan Lynch (Second Team 2012, First Team 2013), Michael Turner (Second Team 2003) and Leshon Johnson (First Team 1993).
“Sutton’s play was a key spark to our defense having as great a year that we had, from the sense we didn’t have to cover guys as long,” NIU coach Rod Carey said last week. “We’ve been disruptive all year as a defense and he led the charge in creating turnovers – both fumbles and forcing interceptions.”
Smith leads the FBS in both tackles for loss (28½) and sacks (14). He is 3½ tackles for loss shy from the NCAA single season record of 32, set by Western Michigan’s Jason Babin in 2013.
The Huskies match up against Duke in the 2017 Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. Kickoff is set for 4:15 p.m.