Senior linebacker Jonathan Smith has officially entered the transfer portal. Inside Carolina was the first to report this morning that the veteran linebacker was seeking other options to continue his college career as of Thursday morning.
In three games with the Tar Heels this season, Smith had totaled just three tackles and hadn’t really played significant snaps outside of the second half against Appalachian State. Smith was suspended the first two games of the season due to some academic issues and with the strong performances of Jeremiah Gemmel and Chazz Surratt to go along with Dominique Ross, Smith was struggling to make a role for himself once he returned to the lineup against Wake Forest.
Prior to this season, Smith was a two-year starter in the middle of the Tar Heel defense. His best season came in 2017 as a sophomore where he finished with 40 total tackles and 4.0 tackles for a loss. In his four year career at North Carolina, Smith racked up 72 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. Smith will take the redshirt for this 2019 season and will have one year of eligibility left wherever he chooses to transfer.
As for the Tar Heels, Smith’s departure is a blow to the depth at linebacker, but the good news is Surratt, Gemmel and Ross have been able to handle the bulk of the reps at inside linebacker without much issue. With Matthew Flint already out for the season with a leg fracture, true freshman Eugene Asante will now become the depth at inside linebacker if needed. With Asante already having played in three games this season, Smith departure likely solidifies the fact that he will not receive a redshirt for this 2019 season.