It’s been whispered for months, but it looks to finally be official. Texas A&M WR Ainias Smith will return to Texas A&M for one final “super senior” season, according to a report by The Eagle’s Travis Brown.
UPDATE: Ainias has made an official announcement on his Twitter account.
Texas A&M WR Ainias Smith to return for super senior season https://t.co/l1CcYBrgyc— . (@Travis_L_Brown) February 2, 2023
Zero’d Out pic.twitter.com/TmDlb1VH63— Ainias Smith (@ainias_smith) February 2, 2023
After amassing over 600 receiving yards and six touchdowns in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Smith was hampered by a leg injury in 2022, going down in the Aggies’ first SEC game against Arkansas. While the A&M offense had already shown signs of struggle, his departure exacerbated the situation and undoubtedly contributed to the offense’s seeming lack of growth over the course of the season.
Looking toward 2023, it’s hard to overstate how significant Smith’s return is. The Aggies saw significant departures from their WR corps to the transfer portal in Chris Marshall (Ole Miss), Chase Lane (Georgia Tech), Yulkeith Brown (Tulane) and Devin Price (Appalachian State). That suddenly left the Aggies with only four scholarship receivers from last year’s team (Evan Stewart, Moose Muhammed, Noah Thomas and Kenyon Jackson). While that will be bolstered by UTEP transfer Tyrin Smith and freshmen Micah Tease and Raymond Cottrell, Ainias Smith brings an established veteran presence to that room, and an exceptionally versatile one at that. In addition to what he brings as a receiver, Smith has also returned punts for the Aggies for several years, and in 2020 played significant snaps at running back.
While the Aggies’ depth at several positions may have been gutted by the transfer portal, that has also been mitigated by the several seniors who have opted to return for one more season, as Smith joins safety Demani Richardson and TE Max Wright. That means that A&M has lost only TWO seniors from last year’s team to graduation (WR Jalen Preston and LS Conner Choate) and only three juniors to the NFL Draft (S Antonio Johnson, CB Jaylon Jones and RB Devon Achane).