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Nebraska vs. Northwestern, 10/13/18

Nebraska's CJ Smith is carted off the field against Northwestern in October at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.

Nebraska redshirt freshman defensive back CJ Smith has entered his name in the NCAA's transfer portal and is leaving Nebraska. 

A team spokesman confirmed the move to the Journal Star on Tuesday evening. 

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Smith, from West Palm Beach, Florida, appeared to be on the verge of increased playing time last fall when he suffered a serious knee injury in mid-October against Northwestern. He missed the remainder of the season, but was thought to be part of the program's plans going forward. 

Smith is the fifth scholarship player to leave the program since spring ball ended, but the first in recent weeks. He joins punter Caleb Lightbourn, outside linebackers Quayshon Alexander and Breon Dixon, and defensive back Cam'ron Jones in transferring away from Lincoln. 

Smith was not able to fully participate in spring ball as he recovered from the knee injury, but was expected to be at near full strength as summer progressed. His departure leaves NU with post-spring starters Deontai Williams and Marquel Dismuke at safety along with a host of young players. The Huskers welcomed four freshmen to Travis Fisher's room this summer in Noa Pola-Gates, Myles Farmer, Quinton Newsome and Javin Wright. 

Smith was the first scholarship player to commit to Nebraska after Scott Frost's hire in December 2017. His older brother, wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith, was a productive receiver for Frost at Central Florida and now plays for the New Orleans Saints. 

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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