App State Has Two Selections on Academic All-DIstrict Team

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App State Has Two Selections on Academic All-DIstrict Team


BOONE, N.C. – App State safety Kaiden Smith and defensive end Caleb Spurlin were named to the 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-District® 3 team this week, making the super seniors repeat selections.

Academic All-District® honorees advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® ballot. First-, second- and third-team Academic All-America® honorees will be announced in mid-December.

To be eligible for Academic All-District® selection, each nominee had to boast a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or better and be a significant contributor to the team on the field. District 3 comprises Division I college football teams from North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Smith boasts a 3.76 GPA as a communication (journalism) major with minors in media studies and new media and digital cultures. He is already an accomplished journalist with “The 135 Podcast,” a pregame radio spot, UNCUT website contributions and nationally distributed written articles.

Spurlin graduated cum laude (3.62) in December 2020 with a bachelor’s in management and minor in leadership studies, and he currently carries a 3.95 GPA in pursuit of his MBA in supply chain management.

Spurlin and two teammates have played in all 62 of App State’s games since the start of 2017, tying Pierre Banks’ school record for career games played. Smith started every game in 2020, returned for a sixth year as a super senior, suffered a torn Achilles tendon during an April 15 spring practice but returned less than six months later as a starter at Georgia State, then had a team-high 10 tackles at Louisiana.

Smith ranks sixth on the team this season with 26 tackles despite missing the first four games, and Spurlin has 1.5 sacks among his three tackles for loss and 23 total stops. He has started 22 straight games, and Smith has started in each of his last 18 game appearances.

Spurlin paired a blocked field goal with a career-high seven tackles at Miami, had 1.5 sacks against Coastal Carolina and is on the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award because of his versatility — he had two 1-yard touchdown catches against ULM (giving him four career touchdown catches) and was the lead blocker on two rushing touchdowns against Marshall (he’s provided the lead block as an H-back on five rushing TDs in his career).