CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Senior defensive end Earnest Smith, who was chosen as Austin Peay State University’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player for 2012, will miss the 2013 season after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in a recent summer conditioning drill.
Smith suffered the injury, June 20th, while working out at Governors Stadium. He underwent surgery last week to repair the tear. The fifth-year Gov was fifth on the team—and led all linemen—in tackles last season with 44, including a Govs’ best nine tackles for loss (34 yards) and four quarterback sacks. As a result, he was awarded theteam’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award at last spring’s annual athletic banquet.
“Earnest got hurt doing the right thing,” APSU coach Kirby Cannon said. “You hate it for the kid because this happened right before his final season. Earnest is due to graduate in December and he will concentrate on doing what he needs to in the classroom to make that happen.
“As a team, we will have to rally around the guys who are going to replace him.”
The local product came to APSU in 2009 as a walk-on after playing his prep career at Kenwood High School. He sat out that season as a redshirt before gaining playing time as a defensive tackle in 2010. After a strong offseason conditioning program he shifted to defensive end for 2011 and then moved into the starting lineup for good after the Memphis contest (Week 2). He finished with 33 tackles, including four for loss in 2011.
In 2012, Smith played perhaps his best game at Football Bowl Subdivision power Virginia Tech, Sept. 8, recording eight tackles that included a sack while sharing in another tackle for loss and also forcing a fumble in the contest. Later he had eight tackles against Southeast Missouri, Oct. 27, while being credited for a sack and forced fumble against Jacksonville State.
The 6-2, 233-pound Smith wrapped up 2012 with 2.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and fumble recovery against Tennessee Tech, Nov. 17, in the Governors’ Ohio Valley Conference victory.