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Backup RB Adonis Smith transfers from Northwestern

Updated: March 24, 2012 9:04AM

Northwestern coach Pat Fitz­gerald announced Wednesday that backup running back Adonis Smith is leaving the ­program.

A team spokesperson said Smith will finish the spring quarter but won’t participate in spring football, which begins March 3.

Smith, a sophomore from Oakland, Calif., saw limited playing time in two years with the Wildcats. Last season, he was among a group of running backs who filled in for Mike Trumpy after Trumpy tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee Oct. 1 against ­Illinois.

The 5-11, 200-pound Smith rushed for 266 yards in eight games and was the team’s fourth-leading rusher behind quarterback Kain Colter and backs Jacob Schmidt and Treyvon Green. In two years, Smith played in 17 games and had 462 rushing yards, nine receptions and three touchdowns.

It was rumored on Internet message boards last weekend that Smith was going to transfer. The Wildcats signed explosive ­Joliet Catholic running back ­Malin Jones this month, and Fitzgerald had said during a signing day news conference that Jones’ job with the Wildcats will be to score touchdowns. Jones rushed for more than 4,000 yards in high school.

A Northwestern representative didn’t know why Smith was transferring. Fitzgerald was unavailable for comment but issued a ­statement.

“We’re disappointed to see Adonis leave Northwestern,” Fitzgerald said in the statement. “He is an outstanding young man, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

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