New Mexico QB Smith leaves program

Quarterback Tate Smith has left the New Mexico football team.

Smith missed all of last season after having shoulder surgery and missed most of spring football because of a partially torn back muscle on his right side.

Because of his limited action, Smith slipped behind sophomore B.R. Holbrook, who finished the spring as the top quarterback. Junior Brad Gruner, who suffered a knee injury late in the spring, also slipped out of spring contention.

However, with two incoming freshman quarterbacks, coach Mike Locksley maintained that he would wait before naming a starter.

“We’re not going to name a starter until August,” Locksley told ESPN.com in April. “We’re using this spring, the three on campus are battling. But they all know that we’ve got to get through spring ball and see. The two freshmen that we recruited have both been told that they’re going to have an opportunity for a starting job once we get into camp. So, depending on how fast they can develop and come along will dictate us announcing who our starter will be for Oregon.”

Smith was granted his release to any school except one in the Mountain West or any of the nonconference opponents the Lobos play in the next two seasons.

Smith played in four games in 2008 after transferring from Cisco Junior College. He completed 7 of 21 passes for 82 yards and two interceptions. He also rushed for 25 yards on 18 carries.