by Alan Babbitt
Hope College center Zach Smith has joined elite company after being chosen to the 2019 American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division III All-America Team.
The senior from Suttons Bay, Michigan (Suttons Bay HS) is one of five first-team offensive linemen and 11 first-team selections overall.
The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five college divisions.
The 5-10, 264-pound Smith helped the Flying Dutchmen match a school record for single-season wins with a 9-2 record this season. Hope captured its 21st Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association title with a 7-0 league record and earned the fifth NCAA playoff appearance in team history.
A two-time, All-MIAA first-team honoree, Smith anchored an offensive line that paved the way for the MIAA's top scoring offensive at 46.0 points per game and second-ranked total offense at 439.7 yards per game.
Against MIAA opponents, Hope averaged a league-high 46.4 points and 446.0 yards per game.
Head coach Peter Stuursma called Smith the heart and soul of Hope's offensive line.
"A three-year starter and a two-time captain, Zach has never missed a practice or a rep with the first unit," Stuursma said. "He is durable, tough and as strong as anyone we have had here at Hope College."