Jerminic Smith has caught his last pass as an Iowa football player.
The Hawkeyes’ most experienced returning wide receiver, suspended from all team-related activities since early April for failing to meet team academic standards, will not be returning to the program.
Coach Kirk Ferentz announced the decision Friday afternoon in a brief statement.
“We have mutually agreed that at this point it is in everyone’s best interest that Jerminic starts a new chapter in his collegiate career,’’ Ferentz said. “We wish him success moving forward.’’
Smith caught 23 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns last season as a sophomore and opened spring practice at the top of the Iowa depth chart at one of two receiver positions.
A little over two weeks later on April 7, Iowa announced on the night of a public practice in West Des Moines that Smith had been suspended indefinitely because of academic issues.
Ferentz said at that time the team standards involved included class attendance expectations and required study hours.
With senior Matt VandeBerg sidelined for the spring because of a foot injury, Adrian Falconer and Devonte Young were the only recruited scholarship receivers who participated in the Hawkeyes’ April 21 spring game.
At that time, Ferentz said Smith’s status would be evaluated at the conclusion of a semester which ended Friday.
“We’ll just let his actions speak,’’ Ferentz said.
VandeBerg, a fifth-year senior who has 106 career receptions for 1,302 yards and eight touchdowns, is expected back on the practice field in June. He joins Falconer and Young as the only returning receivers on scholarship in the Hawkeye program.
Nick Easley, Ronald Nash and Dominque Dafney, who all walked onto the program as junior college transfers from Iowa Western Community College, participated this spring.
Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz conceded last month that the number of receivers on scholarship at Iowa this spring was low and in VandeBerg’s absence, consistency was lacking. He labeled Easley as the most consistent of the group, saying he had positioned himself for playing time this fall.
Four incoming freshmen receivers, Max Cooper, Henry Marchese, Brandon Smith and Ihmir Smith-Marsette, will join the program this fall.
All four were informed in April by first-year receivers coach Kelton Copeland that they needed to arrive at fall camp ready to compete for playing time.
“We’re not married to anyone, and we’re going to do what’s best for Iowa football. What’s best for Iowa football is great competition,’’ Brian Ferentz said. “… Let’s get some young guys in here and go to work and see who wants to be here and wants to do things the Iowa way.’’
Smith, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound native of Garland, Texas, was one of four true freshmen to see action for Iowa in 2015 and became the first true freshman on a Kirk Ferentz-coached Hawkeye team to record over 100 receiving yards in a game when he gained 118 yards on four catches.
Over the past two seasons, Smith caught 29 passes for 455 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball three times, all last season, for 63 yards.
Akrum Wadley, who caught 36 passes last season is Iowa’s top returning pass catcher. VandeBerg is now the top returning receiver, catching 19 passes for 284 yards before missing the final nine games of the season because of a foot injury.