For the second straight week, Mississippi State senior Preston Smith has been named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week.
The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder from Stone Mountain, Ga., made five tackles (two solo, three assists), one tackle for loss and returned a one-handed interception 21-yards for a touchdown in the first quarter of the Bulldogs 47-34 victory over UAB.
“I think it’s a big change in momentum when both sides of the ball are going out there and scoring,” Smith said. “We helped our offense out by giving them some points and they didn’t have to come back onto the field as fast.”
Smith, who was also named the Defensive MVP of the Liberty Bowl last year, is the first MSU player to receive the SEC honor since Fletcher Cox did so three times during the 2011 season.
Through two games, Smith is tied for the conference lead in interceptions with Auburn’s Jermaine Whitehead and Missouri’s Aarion Penton.
“He’s added the size and strength to be a really good every-down player where he can be strong and physical now at the point of attack,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “He’s explosive off the edge in pass rushing. I’m pleased with how he’s been playing. He’s far from a finished product but he’s put in a lot of work coming into this season and now he’s seeing some of the rewards of that hard work.”