JACKSONVILLE – The National Arena League announced their player awards yesterday, including Most Valuable Player, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Special Teams Player of the Year.
Lehigh Valley quarterback Warren Smith Jr. was named MVP for his standout performance this season. Smith dominated the league offensively the entire season. He led the league in total offense, total offensive yards, total
touchdowns, passing average per game, passing yards, and passing completions. Smith had 2,053 total yards and 56 touchdowns. No player came close to competing with Smith Jr.’s numbers. The league's second highest
passer had 1,674 total yards and 30 touchdowns. Additionally, Smith had the second best ranked pass efficiency in the league with 109.2, only 0.6 away from first place. Smith earned Offensive Player of the Week four times this
season and helped the Steelhawks to their best year in team history. The 27 year old was previously named the 2014 PIFL MVP. Playing in arena football since 2012, he split his collegiate career between Iona College and the
University of Maine. Smith has also earned a spot on the 2017 All-NAL First Team Offense.
Michael Reeve of the Columbus Lions earned the NAL Offensive Player of the Year award. It’s safe to say that the 6’7” wide receiver was a huge contributing factor in helping the Lions to the Championship Game. He leads
the league in receptions (73), reception yards (809), and reception touchdowns (21). This is Reeve’s second year in arena football with the Columbus Lions. Reeve played college football at Western Oregon as a star receiver
before making his way to the Lions.
Jacksonville’s Charlie Hunt took the League Award for Defensive Player of the Year. The Jack Linebacker has been a source of consistency for the Sharks’ defense this 2017 season, ranking first on the team with seven
interceptions. He ranked within the top three in the league for interception returns (7), interception return yards (147), and interception return touchdowns (2). Hunt finished the regular season with 36.5 tackles, seven pass
breakups, and a forced fumble. Hunt is a native of Jacksonville, Florida and attended college at Florida State University. He is a four-year Shark veteran, playing for the team since 2011 and taking a year off in 2013. He was
a team captain during the 2017 season and earned 2017 All-NAL First Team Defense.
Nick Belcher brought the Special Teams Player of the Year award home for Jacksonville as well. Belcher dominated the league on special teams the entire season. He is not only is the league’s top scoring kicker with
114 points, but also leads the NAL’s kickers averaging about 10 points a game. Belcher went 76 for 89 in PATs. This is only Belcher’s second year in arena football. He previously was a star kicker for the Cedar Rapids Titans
and is a native of Charleston, South Carolina.
In other player awards Warren Oliver of the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks won Most Improved Player, Sergio Schiaffino of the Monterrey Steel won Defensive Rookie of the Year and Malachi Jones won Offensive Rookie of