NFL shot could come sooner rather than later for NIU’s Smith


Enjoy watching defensive end SuttoN Smith this fall NIU fans. It might be his last season in a Huskies’ uniform.

He knows he’s on the radar of NFL scouts after what he did last season as a sophomore. He was a consensus All-American. He led the nation in tackles-for-loss (29.5) and in quarterback pressures. He also set an NIU record with 14 sacks. Smith tells me if he has another ‘Monster’ year like that, and if he projects as a high draft pick next April he’ll most likely pass on his senior year and turn pro.

“Me and coach Carey have had talks about it so it’s…if I have a good year and the polls come back first or second round he (Carey) said he’s going to pack my bags for me,” said Sutton with a laugh, “So I was like, ‘Well thanks!”

So would Smith seriously consider bolting a year early to the NFL and passing up a senior season if he has a great junior year similar to his sophomore season?

“Oh yea. From everything I’ve been told it’s like if I have another decent year…if I get that it’s, ‘We’re out. It’s a wrap,’ but if it’s third (round) and lower me and coach Carey are going to have a talk and we’re going to be, not only talk ‘Don’t go’ but what’s in my heart? What do you want to do?

Don’t get the wrong impression about Smith from this conversation Tuesday. His focus from now through the end of this season will be on helping NIU win football games, it won’t be on the NFL.

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