A week full of All-America honors for NIU defensive end Sutton Smith resulted in the sophomore becoming the second Huskie to make the NCAA Consensus list.
To be selected as a Consensus All-American, a player must be named to the first team of at least two of the five selected All-America teams announced over the past week by the American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Football Writer’s Association of America, The Sporting News and Walter Camp Foundation. Second team selections are used to break ties.
The St. Charles, Missouri, native was named a first team All-American by Walter Camp and the FWAA, and was a second team selection on the AP, AFCA and The Sporting News teams.
He and LeShon Johnson are the only NIU players to be named to either the first or second unit of all five teams.
NIU coach Rod Carey said Smith embodies the “Smart, Tough, Relentless” play that the Huskies set out to exhibit this year.
“Our defense this year has been disruptive; they play fast and they play aggressive, and Sutton exemplifies that in everything he does,” Carey said. “Whether getting around an [offensive] lineman or having to deal with a back or a tight end and a tackle, he is a great example of the relentless way our defense went about its business, along with being smart and tough. We were definitely a defensive-led football team this year, and we’re going to need that in the [Quick Lane Bowl against Duke].”
Smith joins NIU Athletics Hall of Famer Johnson, a unanimous Consensus All-American at running back in 1993, as the only Huskies to receive the distinction in school history.
“It is a little amazing to think of LeShon and Sutton as the only NIU players to achieve this honor, but when you watch Sutton work every day, going back to last winter, I haven’t been shocked because he’s put in the work,” Carey said. “I think [Sutton’s] selection [as a Consensus All-American] also speaks volumes to the program we have created in the last five years and to how we have been able to develop players.”
Smith and the Huskies will close out the season Dec. 26 in the 2017 Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit when they take on Duke.