Today, it was announced that ASU wide receiver, Rick Smith is asking for his release from the school and the team, presumably to play somewhere else. His twitter account stated that he is visiting Boise State.
While the departure of Rick Smith specifically was not foreseen, it is inevitable every year and in every program that players will seek to play somewhere else. Earlier this season, QB Michael Eubank decided to leave the team.
Though they may not state it publicly, the reason they are leaving is to pursue a chance to get more playing time. It’s quite common. Players want to see the field as much as possible. If they aren’t, or they perceive that they won’t in the near future, they start to look elsewhere.
It is possible that Rick Smith was never really comfortable here. Perhaps he never really felt good with the system, the coaches or the campus. It happens sometimes. But the more likely reason for Smith leaving is that he feels like he is being pushed aside.
Smith saw decent playing time last season. He was a starter in the first few games, then went to the bench for a stretch before edging back into the starting lineup. His detractors will point to his several dropped passes and his critical fumble against Notre Dame that led to a quick touchdown for the Irish. His supporters will recall his game-winning touchdown reception against Utah and his big run at UCLA that set up a short touchdown run.
With ASU signing highly touted WR Eric Lauderdale and 2 other receivers, plus another punt/kickoff returner, Smith probably saw the writing on the wall. He probably saw that his role in Mike Norvelle’s offense would be diminished.
It’s hard to say if that is true or not. Smith would probably have been in the first string huddle next week for the opening of spring ball. But the reality is that Smith was never a legitimate outside receiver. At only 5’9″, he was destined to play the slot receiver like he did last year. Bringing in Lauderdale and some other tall receivers wouldn’t necessarily have put Smith on the outside looking in. No doubt, Norvelle would have game planned some touches for Smith.
That apparently is not what Rick Smith is looking for. So his coaches and teammates will most likely wish him well and wish him the best of luck in the future.