Venables says Shaq Smith transfer surprised him

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Venables says Shaq Smith transfer surprised him

Clemson's roster is full of elite talent and sometimes players need a fresh start for a new beginning.

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables told reporters during Tuesday's Clemson Media Day that he was surprised that linebacker Shaq Smith transferred from the program.

"I really thought Shaq was making steady improvement," he said. "He wasn’t where he eventually would have been had he continued to play and stick around. I’m not going to lie. I was surprised, but listening to Shaq explain the situation and what he wanted for his future - he just wasn’t playing with the consistency or the confidence that he wanted to and thought maybe a fresh start would help him. So you just kind of move on."

Venables wishes Smith nothing but the best as he was truly a team player.

"We didn’t lose a lot of experience there, although when you are investing in any player for a couple of years [you do]," he said. "When you have a program that is able to maintain a high-level consistency that’s one of the secret ingredients so to speak is that development, things going on behind the scenes. So when you lose guys you got guys that are third and fourth and sometimes even fifth-year players that come out of nowhere and play at a really high level because they know what to do and they are confident and things of that nature. Again, wish Shaq the best. He gave us great leadership here. Just a great young guy that really made a tremendous investment every day and really bought in completely and totally. He was very supportive of guys playing in front of him and I’m sure that was internally frustrating at times. I wish him nothing but the best."

Smith had nine tackles and a sack last season.

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