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Texas A&M Star Ainias Smith Injury, Status Uncertain for Rest of Season

Ainias Smith's time in College Station could be coming to an end on a sour note.

ARLINGTON - - Texas A&M might have picked up the 23-21 win over No. 10 Arkansas in the Southwest Classic, but it could have lost its bright offensive star in the process.

A&M receiver Ainias Smith suffered a lower-body injury in the closing minutes of the third quarter Saturday night at AT&T Stadium. The senior would not return for the final 15 minutes of action.

"We don't have an update right now," Fisher said postgame. 

On second-and-10, A&M quarterback Max Johnson tried to pick the first down on a designed run. Trying to go down just before the marker, Johnson would roll up over Smith’s ankle.

Smith would require help off the field from A&M’s medical staff. He would be seen on the sidelines using crutches and wearing a medical boot after exiting the medical tent.

Fisher said that Smith would likely undergo further testing when the Aggies return to College Station.

"I feel for Ainias," A&M safety Demani Richardson said. "He's been working really hard. He's a leader of this team. He's going to keep leading, though."  

Smith, one of the key leaders and focal points of A&M’s offense, elected to return for his senior season after A&M finished 8-4 in 2021. Once again, he’s been the Aggies’ most consistent receiver for both Johnson and Haynes King.

Through four games, Smith has totaled 17 catches for 291 yards and two touchdowns. Prior to exiting Saturday’s game, the 5-10, 190-pound receiver finished with one catch for 32 yards. 

Should Smith’s season be over, the No. 23 Aggies will rely on their young receivers to pick up the pace. Both sophomores Yulikeith Brown and Moose Muhammad III have experience playing in the slot. Meanwhile, freshmen Chris Marshall and Evan Stewart have worked with the first-team offense since arriving in Aggieland.

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Stewart, SI All-American’s No. 12 player, has come as advertised in his three appearances. For the season, Stewart has totaled 13 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown.

"Evan's getting better and better," Fisher said. "He's going to be one hell of a player. He's a very dynamic guy, he can make plays, he can catch and run with it. He can get deep. He can do a lot of things." 

Should Smith’s season be over, he’ll have to weigh his options for 2023. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all players were given one extra year of eligibility, meaning Smith could return for a super senior season. He also could bet on himself and declare for the NFL Draft. 

Should Smith’s career with the Aggies be done, he’ll finish with 127 catches for 1,612 and 17 touchdowns. He’ll finish 10th all-time in program history with receptions.

"Every guy prepares as if they are the guy," Johnson said. "Ainias Smith is a big part of our offense, but the young stepped in and did a great job as well." 

The Aggies (3-1, 1-0 SEC) will travel to Davis Wade Stadium next Saturday to take on Mississippi State at 3:00 p.m. 

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