Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. wasn’t able to stand alongside teammates Josh Jacobs, Quinnen Williams and Jonah Williams as they declared for the NFL draft. Smith was at fellow tight end Hale Hentges‘ wedding. Nonetheless, Smith has made the same decision to leave Alabama early and begin his professional career.

Smith, a junior, broke school records this season after becoming Alabama’s top tight end. He finished the season with 710 yards and seven touchdowns, the best marks in Alabama history for a tight end. He finished fourth on the team with 44 receptions. Smith was named second team All-SEC by the league coaches.

His star rose this season as Alabama’s passing attack took off. Alabama had five players, including Smith, with at least 40 catches, 600 yards and six touchdowns. It was a huge jump in production this year after he posted 14 receptions for 128 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore. He didn’t have any offensive stats during his true freshman season in 2016.

Smith is the son of former NFL tight end Irv Smith, a first round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1993. The elder Smith played seven NFL seasons.

Losing Smith before his senior season leaves the Crimson Tide thin at tight end. Hentges, a senior captain and four-year cog for the offense mainly as a blocker, is also gone after this season. Miller Forristall, who was ahead of Smith on the depth chart before a knee injury in 2017, will be back for his redshirt junior year as the most experienced player. Tight end Kedrick James, who played sparingly this season, could begin the 2019 season with a suspension. Major Tennison will be a redshirt sophomore and Michael Parker will be a redshirt freshman, while Alabama signed one tight end in December.

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