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Jaylon Smith suffers 'significant' knee injury in Fiesta Bowl

Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith suffered a knee injury that coach Brian Kelly described as "significant" in the first quarter of the Fiesta Bowl on Friday. The Fighting Irish lost the game, 44-28.

One of college football's top talents, Smith was carted into the locker room area early in the game and returned on crutches.

Without providing further detail, Kelly called the injury a significant one, according to Doug Lesmerises of

Smith, who won the 2015 Butkus Award as college football's top linebacker, is a junior who's leaning toward applying for early entry into the 2016 NFL Draft. Until more details are known about Smith's injury, it's unclear whether he will be able to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine in February or in Notre Dame's pro day, if he indeed applies for early draft entry.

Kelly indicated earlier this month that both Smith and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley were poised to leave the Fighting Irish program and enter the draft as underclassmen. Stanley has already announced he intends to do so.

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