WACO, Texas - John Smith has been named to the 2017 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III Coaches' All-American First Team. A week after becoming the first player in program history to be named the New England College Division Player of the Year, Smith is also the first Husson football player to earn AFCA All-American honors.
The four time First Team All-Conference selection led all of Division III in 2017 in rushing yards (2,242 - ninth most yards in a season in NCAA DIII History), rushing yards per game (186.8) and tied for the most rushing touchdowns with Leanthony Ressnover of Eureka with 31, while being ranked in the top five nationally in scoring (15.5, 3rd), total points scored (186, 2nd), total touchdowns (31, 2nd), and All-Purpose yards per game (195.42, 4th). He also led the entire conference in rushes (340), yards per rush (6.59), and had multi-touchdown performances in all but three games this season.
In 43 career games played, Smith ran for 7,205 yards on 1,170 attempts (an average of 6.16 yards per rush and 167.6 yards per game) with 81 touchdowns on the ground, while catching 34 passes for 370 yards and two scores, giving him 7,575 yards of All-Purpose (an average of 176.2 per game) and the record holder of 55 school and New England Division III records.
Smith reached new heights in his final season in a Husson uniform, by becoming the first tailback in program history to surpass the 2,000-yard rushing, total offense and all-purpose marks en route to earning his third straight ECFC Offensive Player of the Year honors. The senior captain rewrote the HU Football record book for the final time in 2017 as he surpassed his single-season records for most rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, rushing yards per game, rushing attempts and all-purpose yards (2,345), total points scored, touchdowns scored, 100-yard rushing games (11), 200-yard rushing games (4) and broke Mike Prentiss' 14 year old single-season record for highest all-purpose yards per game average of 193.0 by averaging 195.4 yards per game this season. Smith also broke his single-game marks for rushing yards (301, at Endicott) and all-purpose yards gained (311, at Endicott), while surpassing Julius Williams single-game record for the highest average gain per rush of 15.6 vs. Becker in 2009 when he averaged 17.6 yards per rush at Anna Maria. In his final regular season game of his career, Smith tied the program's single-game records for rushing touchdowns and touchdowns scored when he punched in five scores vs. Mount Ida.
The three-time ECFC Offensive Player of Year is the all-time New England Collegiate Football Division III career leader in rushing yards (6145, Melikke Van Alstyne, Framingham State, 2010-2013), 100-yard rushing games (32, Melikke Van Alstyne, Framingham State, 2010-2013), rushing yards per game (165.4, Rob Marchitello, Maine Maritime, 1993-95), rushing touchdowns (77, Jim Bower, Maine Maritime, 2006-2010), touchdowns scored (79, Joe Dudek, Plymouth State, 1982-85), points scored (493, Jim Bower, Maine Maritime, 2006-2010) and holds the single-season records for rushing yards (1941, Chris Sharpe, Springfield, 2006), 100-yard rushing games (10, Jeff Mack, Plymouth State, 2008, DeRon Brown, MIT, 2008, and Melikke Van Alstyne, Framington State, 2013) all set in 2017. Smith also broke the New England Collegiate Football Division III record for the highest average gain per rush in game when he averaged 17.6 yards per rush at Anna Maria in 2017. The previous record of 17.3 was held by Scott Haney of Western Connecticut for 33 years.
Smith not only has the most career rushing yards by any tailback in the State of Maine, regardless of the division, he also surpassed Kavin Gailliard (1996-99) of American International University in Springfield, Mass. for the most in New England Collegiate Football History. He also ranks among NCAA Division III all-time leaders in rushing yards per game (4th), rushing yards (4th), points scored (5th), all-purpose yards (10th).
Smith is the only player in ECFC history to be named to the AFCA All-American First Team, Offensive Player of the Year in back-to-back-to-back seasons, named a semifinalist for the Gagliardi Trophy, and the only player on the 2017 All-NEFW squad to be named to the team four straight seasons.
To view the complete team, click here.