Running back Adonis Smith to leave UNLV

Adonis Smith, who could have been UNLV’s starting running back next season, is transferring because the football team won’t be eligible to play in a bowl because of a low Academic Progress Rate score.

Two UNLV sources confirmed Smith is leaving, but said they didn’t know where he would transfer.

The Rebel Yell student newspaper reported Smith is heading to Arizona, but the Wildcats are out of scholarships and even over the limit. They weren’t expected to accept any more scholarship transfers after defensive end Jordan Allen announced Tuesday he was leaving Louisiana State for Arizona.

If Smith winds up at Arizona, he most likely will have to walk on. The coaching staff also would have to invite him, and it’s not certain that will happen.

A rising senior is allowed under NCAA rules to transfer to another school and play right away if his current team is ineligible for the postseason. UNLV will not be allowed to play in the Mountain West title game or a bowl after an APR score of 925, five below the NCAA minimum.

Smith already has transferred once, leaving Northwestern in 2012 for UNLV. He sat out that year under NCAA transfer rules, but rushed for only 70 yards on 28 carries last season.

But Smith had a big spring game April 11, finishing with 83 yards and two touchdowns on seven rushes.

He made clear after that performance, however, he wasn’t happy David Greene switched from safety to an already crowded running back field. Greene’s addition meant five backs would compete for three spots in the rotation.

“It was kind of a slap in my face, to be honest with you,” Smith said at the time.

If he does transfer to Arizona, UNLV will get to see him when the Rebels open their season Aug. 29 in Tucson.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.

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