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West Virginia safety Tykee Smith dives to tackle Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn during an Oct. 31 game between the teams at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.

Only hours after West Virginia coach Neal Brown held a press conference regarding his team’s first spring practice, one of the Mountaineers’ best and most decorated players took to social media to announce he had participated in his last.

Rising junior spear Tykee Smith announced on Wednesday night that he was entering the transfer portal, posting a statement on Twitter.

“I would like to thank West Virginia University for giving me the opportunity to play the sport I love at a high level,” Smith’s announcement read. “I would also like to thank the staff, teammates, fans and most importantly the academic advisors for all of the love and support that I received during my time there. Lastly, I would like to thank my family and friends for being by my side, every step of the way. Despite that, I would like to announce that I will be entering the transfer portal. However West Virginia will always have a special place in my heart.”

Smith was named an AP third-team All-American last season after recording 61 tackles, fourth best among Mountaineers. He finished second on the team with eight tackles for loss while adding a pair of interceptions and five pass breakups. In 2019, Smith was named a freshman All-American after piling up 53 tackles with 21/2 tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions and six pass breakups.

Smith is the second returning defensive starter to transfer after cornerback Dreshun Miller left the program and landed at Auburn.

Contact Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948 or ryan.pritt@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @RPritt.

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