Nebraska safety C.J. Smith enters transfer portal

NU safety C.J. Smith played in two games as a true freshman in 2018 before suffering a season-ending injury against Northwestern.

During his first February signing day at Nebraska, Husker coach Scott Frost appeared on Big Ten Network and expressed confidence about NU’s recruiting haul at one particular position.

“We feel like we signed as good a class at safety as anyone in the country,” Frost said.

One of those safeties — Deontai Williams — could be among Nebraska’s best defensive players this season.

The other two — four-star recruits Cam’ron Jones and CJ Smith — left after one year on campus. Jones has already transferred to SMU, and Smith entered the transfer portal Tuesday, he announced.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Floridian appeared in two games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury at Northwestern. He was in the process of rehabilitating from that injury this spring.

With his departure, NU is likely to rely more on incoming freshman safeties Noa Pola-Gates, Quinton Newsome and Myles Farmer for depth, although defensive backs coach Travis Fisher has said repeatedly that all of his recruits can play multiple positions, and their ultimate landing spots are not defined upon arrival.

Williams, a junior, took almost all of the No. 1 snaps at one safety spot in spring. The other spot could be a competition among junior Marquel Dismuke, sophomore Cam Taylor and potentially senior Eric Lee, who cross-trained at the position in the spring.

Last season, Fisher regularly rotated three former safeties — Aaron Williams, Tre Neal and Antonio Reed — with Williams as the fourth guy.

NU’s 2018 recruiting class — originally 25 members — is down to 18. Two — Willie Canty and Dominick Watt — failed to academically qualify. Five more — Smith, Jones, Justin McGriff, Greg Bell and Will Jackson — have left. The class produced, however, Adrian Martinez, who had the best freshman quarterback season in school history.

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Reporter - Nebraska athletics

Sam covers Nebraska football, recruiting, women's basketball and more for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @swmckewonOWH. Email:

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