The Maryland Terrapins will already have a new coach next season after deciding to let Ralph Friedgen go a week ago. That new coach will now have to coach a team without his top offensive weapon. Junior wide receiver Torrey Smith announced after yesterday's Military Bowl that he will forego his final year of eligibility and enter the 2011 NFL Draft.
Via Patrick Stevens of AOL Fanhouse:
"It makes it a whole lot easier when you have the people you respect the most supporting your decision," Smith said. "It was definitely a tough decision, but it was one coach Friedgen was comfortable with, (wide receivers) coach (Lee) Hull, (director of character education) Kevin Glover. It just made me feel better about it."
Smith had a breakout season in 2010, catching 67 passes for 1,055 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Four of those touchdowns and 224 of those yards came in Maryland's final game of the regular season, a key 38-31 win over North Carolina State. There were whispers that he was planning on going pro, and the presence of a new coach certainly aided his decision.
Friedgen was fully supportive of Smith's decision, as he noted in the postgame press conference.
"His biggest decision is does he want to be able to take care of his family now or he waits and goes in the first round a year from now, he takes cares of them the rest of their lives," Friedgen said. "I think he's going to do everything he can to get drafted as high as he possibly can and I'm pulling for him and I told him I would help him in any way."
SB Nation's NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draftprojects Smith as a No. 2 receiver in the pros.