Bethel College graduate Ed Smith has been named a nominee for the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Smith played at Bethel from 1983 to 1986. He helped lead the 1984 team to an undefeated regular season and the team’s first-ever NAIA playoff spot.
Bethel finished 29-8 in his four seasons.
Smith was named to the first Bethel College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999 and was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1992.
Smith finished with 195 career receptions, 47 touchdowns and 3,337 receiving yards, the latter two being school records that still stand.
Smith also holds records for points scored in a season (112, 1984) and career (286), passes caught in a game (14) and season (75, 1985), receiving yards in a game (284) and season (1,232, 1985) and touchdown receptions in a season (18, 1984).
Smith is one of 177 players nominated — 78 in NCAA Division I-Football Bowl Subdivision and 99 in the divisional category (all other players).
To be eligible for nomination, a player must have been named a first-team All-American for at least one season.
Smith was a first-team NAIA All-American in 1985 and a second-team pick in 1986. He was an NAIA National Player of the Week in 1985 after a game against Friends, when he posted 14 catches for 284 yards and two touchdowns.
Smith was a three-time All-KCAC selection.
"Being in today's elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to have ever played the game, and we look forward to announcing the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class Presented by ETT early next year," said Steve Hatchell, president and CEO of the National Football Foundation.
Smith is one of only 13 NAIA players on this year’s ballot and the only one from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
NFF voting members have until July 7 to mark their ballots and the results will be released at a later date.
A pair of notable names on the ballot include former Kansas State quarterback Michael Bishop and running back-kick returner Darren Sproles.
The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame is located in Atlanta.