SALEM, Va. - Husson senior tailback John Smith and senior rover Jean Gabriel have been named to the D3football.com All-America team, the organization announced on Friday evening. Smith was named to the second team offense, while Gabriel earned the nod on the third team specialists.
The 2017 D3football.com All-American team is the 19th annual team. The All-American team is selected by D3football.com staff from nominees for D3football.com All-Region teams. Smith and Gabriel are the first Eagles in program history to earn this honor from D3football.com, while becoming the program's ninth and tenth All-American selections.
John Smith continues to accrue honors after having a phenomenal season as he earns his third All-American award in 2017. This season he has taken home first team All-Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) honors for the fourth time straight year and was tabbed the ECFC Offensive Player of Year for the third straight season, the New England Football Writers (NEFW) Division II/III Player of the Year, the Noontime Sports Offensive Player of the Year, and in addition to being selected to the All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Football DIII First Team, the NEFW All-New England team for the fourth straight season, the D3Football.com All-East First Team, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III Coaches' All-American First Team Offense, the Associated Press (AP) Little All-American Division III First Team Offense, and named a semifinalist for the 2017 Gagliardi Trophy.
Smith 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.
The senior running back 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 helping the Eagles to a school-record 10 wins and the program's first ever NCAA Tournament and postseason victories in 2017. The senior captain rewrote the HU Football record book for the final time 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.
Jean Gabriel adds All-American to his long list of postseason honors (D3football All-East Second Team, All-ECAC Football DIII First Team, and All-ECFC First Team Defense) in his final season on the gridiron. The Lake Worth, Fla. native recorded career highs in tackles (59.0), sacks (3), tackles-for-loss (9), forced fumbles (3), interceptions (4), pass breakups (9), while leading all of Division III with seven block punts.
Gabriel will finish his career ranked among the All-Time leaders in interception return yards (47, T-15th), interceptions (7, 11th), interception return touchdowns (1, t-4th), total tackles (148, 12th), unassisted tackes (105, 9th), yards from tackles-for-loss (81, 13th), sacks (7.0, 13th), fumbles forced (4, t-7th), passes defended (26, 4th), QB Hurries (4, 10th), and blocked kicks (10, 1st), while holding the single-game and single-season records for blocked kicks.
To view the entire release, click here.