Maason Smith will not be available for the season opener against Florida State due to a suspension by the NCAA.

According to Wilson Alexander of, the one-game suspension is due to Smith receiving an “improper benefit.” This is an unfortunate development, as Smith finally seemed healthy after tearing his ACL in the first game of the 2022 season. Smith had dealt with some nagging injuries this summer but was going to be ready to go.

This means that the Tigers will be without one of their best defensive players when they face the Seminoles in a top-10 matchup. Smith can return for the home opener against Grambling in Week 2.

Smith was a force as a freshman in 2021, finishing with 4 sacks and 5 tackles for loss in 9 games. After missing last season, many have high expectations for Smith in 2023. SEC coaches voted Smith a first-team preseason All-SEC player before the season.

Without Smith, the team will likely turn to Jordan Jefferson and Paris Shand to generate pressure. The Tigers will kick off the season on Sunday, Sep. 3, against the Seminoles in Orlando.


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