Dallas, Texas – University of Missouri sophomore DE Aldon Smith (Raytown, Mo.) was named Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Week (along with Texas' Keenan Robinson), as announced today by the Big 12 Conference office. Smith was honored for his standout performance in Mizzou's 23-13 win last Saturday over border rival Illinois which saw MU's defense pitch a second-half shutout to aid the comeback win. Earlier this week, Smith was also named the National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.
Smith was a constant disruptive force against Illinois, as he led Mizzou with a career-high 10 tackles on the day. Included in that total were three tackles for loss, and a pair of quarterback sacks, including one on the third play of the third quarter which forced a crucial three-and-out for the Illinois offense that helped swing the momentum back in MU's favor.
Smith, the 2009 Big 12 Conference Defensive Newcomer/Freshman of the Year, is the first Tiger defender to win the weekly Big 12 award since LB Sean Weatherspoon won it in 2008 after a big day against Buffalo. This marks the 16th time a Tiger defender has been named Big 12 player of the week since the league formed in 1996, and Smith is the fourth Tiger defensive end to take home the award – joining former greats Justin Smith (once in 2000), Brian Smith (once each in 2005 and 2006) and Stryker Sulak (once in 2008).
Smith and the Tigers are in preparations for their 2010 home opener this Saturday evening at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field against McNeese State. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., and Tiger fans are encouraged to wear gold to the annual Gold Rush contest.