Defensive end Sutton Smith and quarterback Marcus Childers were named the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, respectively, leading a contingent of 11 total Huskies honored as the league released its 2017 football all-conference teams and specialty awards Wednesday.
In addition to becoming just the second Huskie all-time, and the first since Larry English in 2008, to be named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year, Smith (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell HS) was one of four NIU players named to the All-MAC First Team, along with senior cornerback Shawun Lurry (West Palm Beach, Fla./W. T. Dwyer HS), junior offensive tackle Max Scharping (Green Bay, Wis./Southwest HS) and senior tight end Shane Wimann (Wisconsin Dells, Wis./Wisconsin Dells HS).
Smith, a sophomore, obliterated the NIU single season record for tackles for loss, surpassing the 33-year-old mark of 20 to finish with 28.5 TFLs, which is also tied for sixth all-time in MAC history and the most by a league player since 2004.
He leads all FBS players in tackles for loss and in quarterback sacks with 14, breaking the NIU single season record of 12. His 14 sacks this year are sixth all-time in the MAC and the most by a MAC player since 2006. He scored twice on fumble returns and has three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries to go with 56 total tackles, more than half of which are tackles for loss.