Bio: Arik Smith was a conference linebacker for Saint John’s College High School as well as being named All American in the shot put for the track team. He graduated with honors and was a three time All Conference in shot put and discus. In an extremely competitive and grueling academic institution, Smith takes time to enhance football throughout the community. He helps grow the game by coaching the Jr. Black Knights for youth camps and clinics put on at West Point. Smith is majoring in Electrical Engineering and excels across all of the U.S. Military Academy’s pillars: academic, physical, and military.


Stats: Sophomore Arik Smith has played in 16 career games at the linebacker position and has made four starts this season. After appearing in 11 games during his freshman campaign, Smith is third on the team with 30 tackles (15 solo), to go along with two TFLs, 1.5 sacks a forced fumble and a recovery. His first career forced fumble came at No. 7 Michigan, where he made seven stops (4 solo) and a TFL. In the Morgan State win, he made a career-high eight tackles (4 solo) while adding a QB hurry to the stat sheet. On top of his six tackles vs. Tulane, Smith added his first career fumble recovery on the first drive of the game.


The recipient of the Defender of the Nation Award will be announced on November 7th from one of the Nation’s (9) military academies and institutions including Air Force Academy, The Citadel, Coast Guard Academy, Naval Academy, Norwich University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, VMI and West Point and is based on exceptional leadership qualities on the field, in the classroom and in the community. The recipient must also exhibit a high standard of integrity by leading through example.

In conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America, the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet will be held on Monday, December 9th at the Charlotte Convention Center.  In addition to honoring the Defender of the Nation Award winner, the banquet will celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Legends Award.  UCLA’s Jerry Robinson, a College Football Hall of Famer will be honored as the 2019 Legends Award recipient and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is slated as the keynote speaker.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C. region.  Since its inception, the club has grown as well as diversified boasting a Sponsor Team of more than 80 companies. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Through corporate and individual support, more than $2,000,000 has been raised to benefit the club’s scholarship efforts. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.mysites.io). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is www.touchdownclub.mysites.io.