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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC junior linebacker Andre Smith will enter the 2018 NFL Draft

Andre Smith Georgia
Linebacker Andre Smith, then a sophomore, fights off a block against Georgia in 2016.

North Carolina junior linebacker Andre Smith has declared for the 2018 NFL Draft, as announced on his personal Twitter account early on Sunday afternoon.

Smith only played in two games for UNC this season. He recorded 10 tackles against California in the season opener, along with an interception he returned 73 yards. Against Louisville, he racked up 11 tackles before exiting the game with an injury. He was placed on injured reserve later in the season.

Andre Smith, then a first-year, jogs out of the Kenan Stadium tunnel ahead of a 2015 game against Duke.

If he chose to return to UNC, Smith could have utilized a medical hardship waiver and played as a redshirt junior with two more years of eligibility in 2018, since he played in only two 2017 games. The 6-foot, 240-pound linebacker leaves North Carolina with career totals of 187 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, seven pass deflections, two forced fumbles, two sacks and two interceptions.

"I came to Carolina a 17-year-old boy and I leave a 20-year-old man," Smith said in his statement. "I will forever bleed Carolina Blue and I will forever be a Tar Heel!"

Smith, who is from Jacksonville, Fla., is UNC's first early entrant in the 2018 NFL Draft.