The portal strikes again. Yet this time, this one was a bit of a surprise. With just 11 days away before the week 0 game against that team up in Gainesville, junior safety Derrick Smith tweeted yesterday that he is no longer a member of the Canes football program and has decided to enter his name in the transfer portal. Smith was thought of as a major contributor this season in the secondary.
Smith Was Showing Out!
Smith started his career at safety and then made the move to striker last season. With Romeo Finley’s return and the emergence of Gil Frierson, Smith made the move back to safety. He showed tons of promise in camp and was on track to get plenty of playing time. That looked even more apparent after a strong showing in the Canes first scrimmage.
In a recent article by Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald, safeties coach Ephraim Banda was quoted as saying “You know, I think he did a really good job in the offseason of spending a lot of time in the meeting room and just getting extra work”. Coach Banda also went on by saying “I think he improved in the weight room and really dedicated himself in that area and really bought into [strength and conditioning] Coach Feeley.
Why the Sudden Change?
With all that being said, Smith was going to have a hard time unseating Amari Carter and Gurvan Hall as the starter. Those two have had really good training camps and have solidified their starting roles. That ultimately may have been the deciding factor in Smith leaving.
The other factor may have been the recent arrival of USC transfer Bubba Bolden. The highly touted transfer and former high school teammate of Tate Martell and Brevin Jordan, comes in late, but with high expectations. It seems as though Bolden has been able to come in and catch on quickly.
My final theory could be, the strong push this fall by the infamous Robert Knowles. Could he have been threatening Smith for his playing time? I have a feeling we will be seeing him on the field a lot (biting my nails as I write that).
The Future Looks Bright!
Although the transfer comes as a surprise to all of us, especially the timing of it, many do not seem to be too concerned. With guys like Bolden and even freshman Keontra Smith, the depth at safety looks promising. Look for Keontra to now play a bigger role as a backup and on special teams.
What does concern me, however, is that more and more kids are transferring at the first sight of adversity. Sure, the Canes have benefitted from the transfer portal, but it has also hurt them. One thing is for certain, entering the portal does not guarantee you a starting job anywhere. Chances are, you will have to fight for your spot anywhere else you go. What the portal giveth, it can also taketh away.
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