Arik Smith was recognized for his achievements on the field and in the classroom Wednesday.
Army’s senior linebacker and captain was one of 80 Division I-A players named a Campbell Trophy semifinalist.
The Campbell Trophy is awarded to the college player that combines academics, football and community service.
An electrical engineering major, Smith is one of Army’s most experienced players with 27 starts. He has 182 tackles and 16.5 tackles for a loss in his career.
Army defensive coordinator Nate Woody said Smith’s play and production reminds him of Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary.
“Just the eyes, his demeanor, how he moves, everything he does,” Woody said. “The focus…I love the way that Arik brings it. He just brings it every play and he doesn’t have to talk about it. Sometimes on TV, you see a lot of guys point the finger or trash talk. He doesn’t need to do that. He just takes his job serious and you can count on him.
“Whatever the case, he’s there when you need him. I can’t think of many times where we wanted more from him. I’m not going to say that he’s never missed a tackle. I’m not going to say that he’s always beat every block. But, you can count on his best effort every time.”
Army coach Jeff Monken described Smith as a, “complete cadet athlete” and one who is a deep thinking when he’s on the field.
“He’s very cerebral,” Monken said. “He’s very mindful of what everyone else is doing on the field on defense and where his place is in the scheme. He’s coaches our young guys and really helps our young guys develop.
“He’s a team captain so our guys have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He’s not an incredibly vocal guy but he’s vocal in his own way. He doesn’t yell or raise his voice. He talks to guy and encourages them. I think our guys feel like he’s that steady rock for our team. He’s a really good student as well.”
Monken said Smith, “perhaps1 That list includes Chargers linebacker Cole Christiansen and Seahawks linebacker Jon Rhattigan as well as James Nachtigal, Andrew King and Jeremy Timpf.
“He’s a terminating tackler, a really smart football player,” Monken said. “He’s made an incredible number of plays for us, tackles. He’s a thick hitter. When he hits people, they go backward. He does not get knocked back on a tackle very often. He takes on blocks the same way.”
Smith is seeking to become Army’s second Campbell Trophy winner. Linebacker Andrew Rodriguez was presented the trophy in 2011. Winners of the Campbell Trophy include Peyton Manning and Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.