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NCAA denies ASU WR Jake Smith’s transfer waiver

© Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Arizona State wide receiver Jake Smith, who won the 2018-19 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year at Notre Dame Prep, was reportedly denied eligibility for the 2023 season by the NCAA today after transferring from USC to ASU in January.

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His dad shared his disbelief in the ruling in a since-deleted tweet.

Smith, now in his fifth collegiate season, has looked really good in fall camp so far, so this is disappointing news. He was battling for a spot in a deep wide receiver room that so far looks like it will end up being these three that start: returning junior Elijhah Badger and Idaho State junior transfer Xavier Guillory on the outside and graduate student Gio Sanders in the slot.

The reason that this news hurts the most is the fact that Smith wouldn’t have even been able to play for USC if he stayed there.

Smith started his career at Texas out of high school in 2019 before transferring to USC in 2021 after suffering a foot injury in spring practice.

He was declared a medical non-counter at USC after doctors decided he would be unable to continue his playing career at the school after the injury. So, Smith never played in a game for the Trojans and never received his undergraduate degree.

The NCAA has been cracking down on two-time transfers without degrees and not been giving eligibility to most of them, so Smith fell victim to this. Sophomore safety Xavion Alford who also had the career path of Texas to USC to ASU is facing this same danger.

Smith was looking to come back and make a big return to the state he once dominated.

As a senior in high school, Smith recorded 1,070 receiving yards and 741 yards rushing to go along with 39 total touchdowns. He also returned punts and kicks. He has been described as one of the best high school players in Arizona history.

In his freshman year at Texas, Smith recorded 25 catches for 274 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games. In 2020, he accumulated 23 catches for 294 yards and three touchdowns in seven games.

Since, he has not played in any college football games and still technically should have two years of eligibility left. The 2020 season does not count towards any player’s eligibility, and Smith redshirted and was a medical non-counter at USC.

This season will now make three straight years of Smith not appearing in any games, a highly disappointing figure for a talented player and someone who is ready to rejuvenate his career.

ASU Football heads up to Camp Tontozona

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Brendan Mau is a college sports insider and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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