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January 15, 2008

Reggie Smith declares for NFL

The Oklahoma football team lost its third underclassmen to the NFL draft on Tuesday when defensive back Reggie Smith declared his intentions to turn pro.

Smith entered the 2007 season as the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year but his season ended with a broken toe suffered in the Big 12 Championship game in San Antonio.

Smith was rumored to be considering a move to the NFL even before the Fiesta Bowl, but many believed the talented cornerback would have benefited from another year in college to improve his draft stock for 2008.

Oklahoma head coach issued a statement on Tuesday which was noticeably shorter and less flowery than his comments following the departures of Kelly and Lofton.

"Reggie was a good player for us and we wish him the best," he said.

Smith's departure leaves the Sooners without a returning starter at the cornerback position as Marcus Walker's career came to an end after this year's Fiesta Bowl.

Kelly is believed to be a first round draft pick in this year's draft while Lofton's departure was believed to be more about immediate financial concerns than anything else.

But Smith's departure is definitely one that will be heavily scrutinized by those close to the program.

Smith is believed to be anywhere from a second to fourth-round pick in this year's NFL draft.

But coming off of a broken foot, Smith will have plenty of work to do in order to put himself in position to make a splash at the NFL combine.

Smith, who missed the Fiesta Bowl with a toe injury, started 13 games in 2007. He compiled 78 tackles and three interceptions during his junior year. He also recovered one fumble which he returned for 61 yards for a touchdown against Miami.


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