Dec. 17, 2015
The NCAA selects a consensus squad each year based on All-America selections made by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), The Sporting News and Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF).
Smith and Stanley are Notre Dame's 82nd and 83rd consensus All-Americans. Those 83 players have earned the consensus designation on 99 separate occasions. Both totals – 83 players and 99 selections – are the most of any program in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Smith was a first-team pick by the Associated Press, WCFF, AFCA and The Sporting News. He also was a first-team selection by Sports Illustrated, USA Today, CBS Sports and Athlon Sports, as well as a second-team choice by the FWAA.
Smith, the 2015 Butkus Award recipient, led Notre Dame in total tackles (113), solo tackles (68), assisted tackles (45), pass breakups (five) and fumble recoveries (two) during the regular season. He ranked third on the team with nine tackles for loss.
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Smith was the first Notre Dame player with at least 113 tackles, nine tackles for loss and five passes defended since Courtney Watson in 2003. He was one of just three players at a contract bowl eligible school with at least 113 tackles, nine TFLs and five passes defended during the regular season.
Smith was the first Irish player with consecutive 100-tackle seasons since Manti Te'o hit that milestone for three straight years from 2010-12.
Smith turned in some of his best individual performances late in the season, recording at least 10 tackles in five of Notre Dame's last six games, including a career-best 15 at No. 9 Stanford on Nov. 28. In that game, the Irish held Heisman Trophy finalist Christian McCaffrey to just 94 yards rushing and 113 offensive yards, both his lowest totals over the Cardinal's final 11 games of the season.
Smith was Notre Dame’s first consensus All-America linebacker since Te’o in 2012. He joined Michael Stonebreaker (1988 and ‘90), Bob Crable (1980 and ‘81), Bob Golic (1978) and Jim Lynch (1966) as Irish consensus All-American offensive lineman. Lynch is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Stanley was a first-team pick by the FWAA, WCFF, AFCA and The Sporting News. He also was a first-team selection by ESPN, USA Today and CBS Sports, and a second-team choice by the Associated Press and Athlon Sports.
Stanley, widely considered the top offensive tackle prospect for the 2016 NFL Draft, started all 12 regular-season games in 2015. A semifinalist for the Lombardi and Outland Trophies, Stanley has been a dominant force on arguably the top offensive line in all of college football. Consider the following numbers:
1,032: Rushing yards by first-year RB C.J. Prosise in 2015 -- the 18th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history
757: Rushing yards by RB Josh Adams in 2015 -- second in school history for a freshman
471.5: Average yards of total offense per game -- Notre Dame has averaged more yards of total offense per game just once (2005) since setting the school record of 510.5 yards of total offense per game in 1970
457: Rushing yards vs. UMass -- the best rushing total by the Irish in 23 years
299: Rushing yards vs. Stanford -- most by an opponent in David Shaw’s five seasons (35 carries for an 8.5 per-carry average against nation’s No. 22 rush defense)
214.8: Rushing yards per game in 2015, including six games with at least 200 yards (Texas, Virginia, Georgia Tech, UMass, USC and Stanford)
168: Rushing yards by Adams vs. Stanford -- breaking the 40-year-old single-game freshman record
150: Rushes for Prosise to reach 1,000 yards in 2015 -- second-fewest in school history
98: TD run by Adams vs. Wake Forest -- longest play from scrimmage in Notre Dame history and longest rush by a freshman in NCAA history
90: Two TD rushes of at least 90 yards in 2015 (Adams-98 and Prosise-91) -- Irish had just two rushes of at least 90 yards in first 126 seasons of Notre Dame football
34.8: Average points per game -- not far off the school record of 37.6 points per game (1968)
10: Individual 100-yard rushing games in 2015 -- most by the Irish since 1983 (11)
9: Rushing TDs by QB DeShone Kizer -- tying the single-season school record for QBs
6: Offensive plays of at least 70 yards -- tied for the most in the FBS
5.8: Rushing yards per carry -- currently a modern (post WWII) school record
Stanley was Notre Dame’s first consensus All-America offensive lineman since Taylor in 1992 and ’93. He joined Mirko Jurkovic (1991), John Scully (1980), Dave Huffman (1978), Gerry DiNardo (1974), Larry DiNardo (1970), Tom Regner (1966), Dick Arrington (1965), Al Ecuyer (1957), Art Hunter (1953), Jerry Groom (1950), Bill Fischer (1947 and ‘48), George Connor (1946 and ’47), Jim White (1943), Pat Filley (1943), Ed Beinor (1938), Jack Robinson (1934), Joe Kurth (1932), Tommy Yarr (1931), Jack Cannon (1929), John Smith (1927), Art Boeringer (1926) and Frank Rydzewski (1917) as Irish consensus All-American offensive lineman. Connor, Cannon, Smith, Fischer and Groom are also members of the College Football Hall of Fame.