Fayetteville State’s Kion Smith signs deal with Atlanta Falcons


FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Former Fayetteville State University standout Kion Smith will sign a free-agent contract with the National Football League Atlanta Falcons, according to Unlimited Success Sports Management, Inc.

“I can’t wait to get to work,” Smith said about the opportunity.

Smith, a 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive tackle from Lumberton was described as the anchor of an offensive line that he saw starts on since day one as a freshman.

He earned Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) First-Team All-Conference honors in his junior season as FSU’s advanced to its third consecutive championship game.

“I am proud of Kion and all of his accomplishments”, said FSU Head Football Coach Richard Hayes. “He was one of the first athletes we signed when I started the program. He came to a walk-on tryout in 2016 after signing day and has been continuously impressive since then. He earned an immediate scholarship and has been effective as a three-year starter. We kind of knew he was going to be in the situation that he is in now. He has all the tools.”

“I just want to wish him the best”, said position coach Christopher Holmes. “He has worked hard to get to this point, but the work is not done. I know he will excel and his best play is still in front of him. His ceiling is so high.”

Before Fayetteville State and the CIAA opted out of the 2020 college football season, Smith declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. He recently displayed his effective protection skills at the Hula Bowl and Tropical Bowl.

Smith will join an Falcons team looking to improve protection for longtime quarterback Matt Ryan who took 41 sacks last season. The Falcons have allowed Ryan to get sacked more than 40 times in each of his last three seasons.

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