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Texas A&M Loses Star WR Ainias Smith For Remainder Of Season

Ainias Smith might have played his last down in College Station.

Texas A&M Aggies standout wide receiver Ainias Smith’s time in College Station might officially be done.

Smith will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a broken fibula Saturday in the Aggies’ 23-21 win over No. 10 Arkansas in the Southwest Classic. Smith is expected to fly to Birmingham, Ala. on Monday and undergo surgery to repair the injury.

In the closing minutes of the third quarter, A&M quarterback Max Johnson tried to pick the first down on a second-and-10 run. Trying to go down just before the marker.

Johnson then rolled 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.

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said that team did not know the severity of the injury following Saturday's game and that he would undergo further testing when the Aggies returned to College Station.

"I feel for Ainias," A&M safety Demani Richardson said. "He's been working really hard. He's a leader on 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.

In four games, Smith 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.

With Smith officially sidelined for the remainder of the year, the No. 17 Aggies (3-1, 1-0 SEC) 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."

Smith now will have to weigh his options for the 2023 season. 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.

The recovery time of the injury is currently unknown, meaning Smith could be limited in terms of working out at the NFL Combine and Texas A&M’s Pro Day, thus factoring into his decision on what comes next. The 2023 NFL Draft is set for April 27-29.

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

"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 will travel to Davis Wade Stadium to take on Mississippi State on Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. 

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