Offensive lineman Carter Smith is returning to Indiana, the redshirt freshman announced Wednesday on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Smith started at left tackle for the entire 2023 season, and he performed well. He was a key part of Indiana’s offensive line improvement as a whole, with a Pro Football Focus grade of 67.7 — the best mark of any IU tackle this past year. He’s fared particularly well considering his age, as well. Smith’s PFF grade ranked 15th among all tackles in the 2026 draft class — only one Big Ten player finished above him in that respect.
Given his performance and his youth, Smith was one of the most important IU players to enter the transfer portal after the season ended.
The Powell, Ohio native received heavy interest after entering the transfer portal on November 27, the day after IU fired Tom Allen. He reportedly took visits to Florida State, Ole Miss and Virginia Tech, but ultimately decided to return to the Hoosiers.
Smith was a three-star recruit, per 247Sports Composite, in Indiana’s class of 2022. He ranked as the No. 61 tackle in the class, and the No. 21 overall prospect from Ohio in the class.
Smith is the second player to come back to IU after entering the transfer portal. Defensive back Jordan Grier announced his return Monday. Smith is the third player overall to commit to the Hoosiers from the portal since Curt Cignetti took over as head coach.
The redshirt freshman’s return gives the Hoosiers at least one returning starter on the offensive line heading into next season. Matthew Bedford and Kahlil Benson are both transferring to Colorado, and Mike Katic is entering the NFL Draft. Zach Carpenter remains in the transfer portal.