Sutton Smith declares for NFL Draft


FILE – In this Nov. 30, 2018, file photo, Northern Illinois defensive end Sutton Smith (15) reacts after sacking Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson (3) during the second half of the Mid-American Conference championship game, in Detroit. Smith was named to the 2018 AP All-America NCAA college football team, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018.(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

By Khobi Price

Football redshirt junior defensive end Sutton Smith played his final game as a Huskie in the Boca Raton Bowl Tuesday. Smith announced Wednesday that he will forego his redshirt senior season and declare for the NFL Draft via Twitter.

“Yesterday I informed my coaches and teammates I will forego my [redshirt senior] season. I’m sincerely grateful to NIU, the entire coaching staff and my teammates for their support. It truly means a lot. To the Huskie Nation: Thank you! I’m excited to represent NIU in my next chapter.”

Smith finished his NIU career tied with Cary Caliendo (1987-90) for the second-most sacks in program history with 31. The 2018 Vern Smith Award winner also ranks second to Larry English (2005-08) in career tackles for losses with 56.

Smith is a two-time Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year after leading the nation in sacks and tackles for losses during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Smith was named a Consensus All-American during the 2017 season and earned First-Team All-MAC Honors twice during his collegiate career.

He recorded 3.5 tackles for losses and two sacks in the Huskies’ 30-29 victory over the Buffalo Bulls to clinch the MAC Championship Nov. 30.