Clemson linebacker Shaq Smith has reportedly entered the NCAA transfer portal and attached a “do not contact” tag, implying he doesn’t want other schools to reach out to him. His connections to Maryland make the Terps the presumed favorite.
Smith, a rising redshirt junior, graduated this spring. The former four-star recruit has played a backup role the last two seasons at Clemson, recording 16 tackles (2.5 for loss) in limited action last season for the national champions. Smith also had 14 tackles and an interception in 2017. He’s been expected to either win or seriously compete for a starting job with the Tigers, so his decision to leave certainly surprises some.
Maryland’s relation to Smith centers on new defensive backs coach Cory Robinson, who coached the Baltimore native at Calvert Hall as an assistant before Smith left for IMG Academy. Robinson joined Mike Locksley’s staff in December.
The Terps’ depth chart at linebacker includes projected starters Keandre Jones, Ayinde Eley and Chance Campbell or Isaiah Davis, with Durell Nchami at the JACK position. If Smith joins the fold, he’d likely leapfrog most of that group, and assuming Jones is officially granted immediate eligibility, linebacker could become a strength for the Terps’ defense.
Smith could still reach out to or visit other schools, and even end up somewhere else. But all signs point to College Park.
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