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Louisville LB Monty Montgomery, WR Braden Smith Receive Medical Waivers

The longtime veterans for the Cardinals were approved to return for the 2023 season.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Two impactful veterans for the Louisville football program will be returning for one last ride.

Redshirt senior middle linebacker Monty Montgomery and senior wide receiver Braden Smith both had medical hardship waivers approved and will be returning for the 2023 season, a school representative tells Louisville Report.

Both Montgomery and Smith suffered season-ending knee injuries during the 2021 season. Montgomery suffered a torn right ACL in just the third game of the year vs. UCF, then Smith tore multiple ligaments in his left knee the next week at Florida State.

This season, Montgomery was a key component in Louisville's success in the front seven. Playing in all 13 games with 12 starts, the 5-foot-11 and 220-pound linebacker collected the second-most tackles on the team with 70, the third-most tackles for loss at 11.0, tied Ashton Gillotte for the third-most sacks with 6.0, and tied Yasir Abdullah for the most forced fumbles with four. He also tallied five quarterback hurries and snagged two interceptions.

Over the past four seasons, the Norcross, Ga. native has been one of Louisville's top sack artists and overall defensive assets. Joining the program in 2019 after spending a season in the JUCO ranks at Hutchinson Community College, he has collected 160 total tackles (96 solo), 23.5 tackles for loss, 15.0 sacks, seven forced fumbles, seven pass deflections and three interceptions in 39 games at UofL.

As for Smith, while he found himself buried beneath Tyler Hudson and Ahmari Huggins-Bruce in terms of production, he was still a regular contributor amongst Louisville's wide receiver corps this past season. He finished with 21 receptions for 215 yards - both of which was fourth on the team - and one receiving touchdown. A staple for the Cardinals in terms of trick plays, he also completed six of his nine pass attempts for 146 yards and a touchdown against then-No. 10 Wake Forest.

Since arriving from Northwest Mississippi Community College prior to the 2020 season, Smith has been a consistent piece in Louisville's wide receiver room. The Flowood, Miss. native has hauled in 59 receptions for 653 yards and two touchdowns in 29 games with Louisville.

Retaining the veterans are huge boosts to both sides of the ball for Louisville. Montgomery and fellow returner Benjamin Perry are likely in line to be the starting linebackers in new defensive coordinator Ron English's 4-2-5 scheme, and Smith will be one of just two wide receivers on Louisville's roster with more than two years of experience with the Cardinals, joining Huggins-Bruce.

Louisville finished the 2022 season with an overall mark of 8-5 (4-4 in ACC), including a 24-7 win in the Fenway Bowl over Cincinnati. The Cardinals hired Jeff Brohm to be their next head coach after Scott Satterfield, ironically, left for the Bearcats in early December.

(Photo of Monty Montgomery: Eric Canha - USA TODAY Sports)

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