Former Ooltewah Owls All-American and Tennessee Vols defensive standout Jacques Smith has been released by the Atlanta Falcons, who are 10 cuts from reaching their 53-man roster for the 2014 season.
Wide receiver Jeremy Ebert and tight end Mickey Shuler were also released.
Smith, an undrafted free agent, is said to be a "viable candidate" for the Falcons' practice squad if he clears waivers.
The Falcons had until 4 p.m. this afternoon to cut another 10 players, but those players have a chance to go on the practice squad starting Sunday. The final cuts were made public at 4:02 p.m.
Here is the complete list of 10 players cut on Saturday:
WR Bernard Reedy, CB Ricardo Allen, OLB Jacques Smith, TE Mickey Shuler, WR Jeremy Ebert, DT Travian Robertson, WR Geraldo Boldewijn, WR Bernard Reedy, S Sean Baker, G Harland Gunn and T Terren Jones.
Atlanta also has the option to grab players from other teams that have signed waivers. So even making the final roster is no guarantee for players low on the depth chart to start the season with the Falcons.
Smith had been projected by some observers to be the last of five outside linebackers with a chance to be on the final 53-man roster. Jonathan Massaquoi, Kroy Biermann, Stansly Maponga, and Osi Umenyiora are ahead of Smith at that position.
Smtth was cut despite the Falcons' lack of depth at the OLB position. He has been tabbed as "one of the best bets" for the team's practice squad.
When contacted via a text message requesting an interview on Saturday, Smith replied: "Unfortunately, I would not like to do a story at this time. Thank you for the opportunity. God bless."
The Falcons seemingly liked Smith's don't-back-down-attitude throughout preseason camp. He drew plenty of attention early on by getting into a couple of fights and "ticked off" veteran center Joe Hawley.
However, Smith, according to published reports, didn't do himself any favors with the coaching staff following his ejection from the third exhibition game against the Tennessee Titans after getting into a fight long after the whistle stopped play.
As a senior at Tennessee, Smith played in 10 games and started nine after a hand injury slowed him in preseason camp and early season. He scored 28 tackles, two for loss, with two quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.
Last November, Smith attended the Owls' game against Walker Valley -- they won, 42-14 -- during which his jersey was retired during a halftime ceremony.
Smith, a prep All-American during his time at Ooltewah, was a state Mr. Football finalist in 2008 and 2009. He was named to All-America player by Parade magazine and USA Today. Smith was the state's No. 1 college prospect by the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)