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UNA’s KJ Smith wins top Big South academic honor for 3rd straight year

FLORENCE — University of North Alabama football graduate K.J. Smith has earned a record third consecutive Big South Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Smith, a defensive back, finished his undergraduate studies with a 4.0 GPA and earned his master’s of science in health and human performance with a 3.9 GPA.

KJ Smith starred on the field and in the classroom for UNA. (UNA Photo)

The Big South recognizes its top student-athletes based on their performances on the field and in the classroom. Sports information directors vote for the overall recipients from a pool of each sports’ winner during the past season. 

Smith is also a three-time, first team All-America Football Team member as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Smith earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNA during his playing career from 2018-21.

Other accolades include the Division I, Academic All-District 4 team for a third straight year and FCS ADA Academic All-Star in 2021. Smith was also the first three-year team captain in University of North Alabama history. 

In 2021, Smith led the Big South with six interceptions and ranked second in interception-return yards with 69, earning him All-Big South Conference honors for the second year in a row. He made 32 solo tackles, including 7 in a game against Kennesaw State, and added 10 assists while finishing  second in the conference in total passes defended with 12. 

K.J. Smith’s List of Honors

2019

Big South Conference All-Academic Team

Big South Conference Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Big South Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award National Finalist

CoSIDA Academic All-District 4

First-team CoSIDA Academic All-America

2020

Second-team All-Big South Conference

Big South Conference All-Academic Team

Big South Conference Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Big South Conference Male Scholar Athlete of the Year

Big South Conference Presidential Honor Roll

Big South Conference Commissioner’s Award

CoSIDA Academic All-District 4

First-team CoSIDA Academic All-America

 

2021

First-team All-Big South Conference

First-team Phil Steele All-Big South Conference

Fourth-team Phil Steele All-American

Big South Conference All-Academic Team

Big South Conference Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Big South Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

CoSIDA Academic All-District 4

First-team CoSIDA Academic All-America

FCS ADA Academic All-Star

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