First it was RB Tavien Feaster, now LB Shaq Smith has entered the transfer portal. We’re about to find out if this new term “entered the transfer portal” essentially equates to “is transferring.”
Shaq Smith, a rising RS junior, was expected by many to ascend into a starting role with linebackers Kendall Joseph graduating and Tre Lamar departing for the NFL draft. It may have been the case that this wasn’t bearing out in practice.
Jamie Skalski (RS Junior) and Chad Smith (RS senior) are certainly capable of winning starting jobs. This news could insinuate that they are well on their way. Otherwise, this potential transfer just doesn’t make too much sense. When Hunter Johnson left for Northwestern, everyone saw the logic. Trevor Lawrence, a younger player and generational talent, had jumped him on the depth chart. Johnson had the foresight to see that and went closer to home to a solid program where he can develop into a potential NFL draft pick and still be on a winning team. We get it, and we’re happy for him and rooting for him at Northwestern.
Shaq Smith is in a prime situation to earn a starting linebacker spot for the top program in college football. Maybe if he feels he has fallen too far behind to earn it, he heads closer to home in the Maryland area.
It’ll be interesting to see what he does. Chad Smith and Jamie Sklaski would likely start alongside SLB/Nickel Isaiah Simmons if Shaq Smith departs. Linebacking depth would be provided by younger players Mike Jones (RS Freshman), Baylon Spector (RS Sophomore), and Jake Venables (RS Freshman). It wouldn’t be a dire situation, but it could start getting thinner than you’d like.
Check back in with Shakin the Southland as we analyze the situation as it develops.