WACO, Texas – It is usually the ball carriers that get all of the glory for a top rushing attack, as the Salisbury University football team has year in and year out. But on Monday, the American Football Coaches Association announced its Division III All-American Team, and offensive guard Alex Smith was recognized for his work up front clearing the way for the Salisbury rushers, being named to the squad.
Smith is just the 15th player in program history to earn the accolade, and Salisbury's first since defensive lineman Paul Cynewski was named an All-American in 2009. The senior is the first offensive player selected for the All-American team since lineman Brett Wehnert earned the honor in 2005.
A Madison, N.J., native, Smith led the Sea Gulls to a program-record 4,596 rushing yards in 2011, which included 62 rushing touchdowns. Salisbury's 355.54 rushing yards per game ranked second in the nation as the Sea Gulls were the third-best scoring offense in the country, putting up 44.92 points per game.
But the Sea Gull offense was not limited to the rush, Salisbury scored 16 times through the air this season and passed for 1,263 yards, most since 1998, and Smith and the offensive line protected the quarterback, allowing just one sack per game, which ranked the Gulls 29th in the nation.
The AFCA currently selects just one All-American team, and Smith is the 11th Sea Gull first-team selection, which ranks the Salisbury program tied for 14th among all Division III institutions.
Alfred University linebacker Nick Clark was the only other Empire 8 Conference player selected as an All-American.
Salisbury won the Empire 8 Conference championship this year, in the team's first year in the league. Smith was named a first-team all-conference selection and was named to the All-East Region first team by D3football.com.