TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State receiver Richard Smith has been granted release from his scholarship and will explore transfer options, an ASU source confirmed Thursday.
Smith’s release had apparently been in the works for a while, and Smith indicated on his Twitter account Thursday morning he was visiting Boise State. Reached by text, Smith said he’s also looking at San Jose State.
Smith, a junior-to-be, caught 32 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns last season, averaging 8.6 yards per catch. A starter most of last season, he would have entered spring practice next week as the No. 1 receiver at the "Z" position.
The 2013 season was a bit of a roller coaster for Smith. After coach Todd Graham called him the most improved offensive player during fall camp, Smith struggled early in the season with dropped passes and a costly fumble in ASU’s loss to Notre Dame.. He eventually regained the trust of coaches and made a number of big plays, including the winning touchdown in the final three minutes of ASU’s 20-19 win over Utah.
With highly touted junior college receiver Eric Lauderdale arriving in the fall to line up opposite Jaelen Strong, Smith might have seen a reduction in playing time next season. ASU also has Cameron Smith, Ellis Jefferson, Freddy Gammage and Ronald Lewis returning and has two more incoming recruits in Tyler Whiley and Jalen Harvey.
Smith was one of four players from Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic who signed with the Sun Devils in 2012 and stands to become the third of those four to transfer, joining receiver Josiah Blandin and linebacker Matt Rowe. Linebacker Salamo Fiso remains with the program.