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Maryland linebacker Shaq Smith expected to sign with the New Orleans Saints

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Smith was not drafted but found a spot with an NFL team quickly.

Maryland v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Former Maryland football linebacker Shaq Smith agreed to sign with the New Orleans Saints, according to reports.

Smith only appeared in one game during the shortened 2020 season but proved his ability in his time at Clemson and in College Park during his first three college seasons.

Coming out of IMG Academy, the Baltimore native was ranked as a four-star prospect, including being the No. 81 overall player and No. 3 inside linebacker in the Class of 2016.

After signing with Clemson, Smith saw the field in 28 games as a reserve linebacker during his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, tallying 29 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one interception.

Smith announced his transfer back home to Maryland ahead of the 2019 season, where he immediately stepped into a key role. As a junior, Smith played in 11 of 12 games with 10 starts, racking up 24 tackles, four pass breakups, 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack in his first major role at the college level.

In 2020, Smith only appeared in the Terps’ season-opening loss at Northwestern.

The New Orleans Saints have been intertwined with the Maryland program as of late, signing cornerback Tino Ellis as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and hiring former Maryland defensive backs coach Cory Robinson as a secondary assistant.

Smith will have a chance to earn a spot with a New Orleans organization that has just seven linebackers on its roster. The Saints also drafted Ohio State inside linebacker Pete Werner in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.