The Chicago (Ill.) Mount Carmel product played in three games last season and was expected to push for more playing time this fall. However, by the time the Spartans broke preseason camp, Smith was down the depth chart at nose tackle behind Malik McDowell, Raequan Williams and Gerald Owens.
Smith left the program with a huge shout out to the Michigan State fan base with the following tweet.
Since the spring the Spartans have seen Craig Evans, Montez Sweat and Cassius Peat leave the program for personal reasons while Damon Knox also left the program after deciding not to petition for a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.
The losses have many questioning the depth the Spartans will have in 2016 along their defensive front.
Tuesday, Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio addressed how he sees the Spartans defensive front prior to news of Smith leaving the program.
“We've got a lot of good players up there, younger players, that where they are at day one right now, will not be where they are at six weeks from now,” stressed Dantonio. “And that's the mind-set we have to take with some of our younger players: Josh King, Auston Robertson; I think Panasiuk, Mike, has put himself in a position where he will play. He will play on Friday night. I don't think there's any question he will play. So he's put himself in that situation.
“Other guys, do we red-shirt them, do we not, we may have to wait and see possibly, and we may play them. I just can't say on that. I do know they are very, very good football players and it will be exciting to watch those guys as they mature. You have some guys in there like Malik McDowell and Demetrious Cooper who have been there and done that. And Evan Jones is a guy that's had meaningful minutes last year, so he's coming back with possibility as being the starter. You have Raequan Williams out there for the first time, even though he feels like he's been a starter here for the year because he started since the spring, but he'll have his first start, and it will be under the lights and things will start to move faster.
“So it's a learning experience. So all these different things are happening. Kevin Williams coming out and playing for the first time as a Spartan. Gabe Sherrod, same thing. But we have a lot of players that can play at the front position and I think that will be good.”