Florida International U

This player was burned by a girlfriend (who used boiling water). Now, he’s back

FIU tight end Jonnu Smith talks after practice

Florida International University Tight End Jonnu Smith after opening day practice.
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Florida International University Tight End Jonnu Smith after opening day practice.

FIU senior tight end Jonnu Smith’s college career might not have more lives than a cat, but it certainly has more lives than a bunny.

Just 20 days after suffering what police described as “severe burns” when his girlfriend poured a pot of boiling water on his back, shoulders, neck and head, Smith started for FIU on Senior Night Saturday against Marshall.

Smith, 6-3, 232, caught one third quarter pass for 15 yards in Florida International University’s 31-14 win, keeping alive a streak of catching a pass in every college game he’s played. FIU closes its season Saturday at Old Dominion.

That’ll be the end of a college career that two sources told The Herald was over after a chilling burning Halloween night. Mary Gaspar, as she described it according to the police report, doused Smith with the boiling water as he lay in his dorm room bed. She told police they’d been arguing throughout the day about their relationship. Gaspar, a 20-year-old Miami Gardens resident, is pregnant with Smith’s child. She pleaded not guilty to aggravated battery.

Smith, who made the John Mackey Award (Best College Tight End) midseason watch list, missed FIU’s loss to Western Kentucky on Nov. 5. The off week in FIU’s schedule followed, which gave Smith another week to heal. He goes into the final game with 40 catches for 456 yards and three touchdowns this season, 176 catches, 1,951 yards and 17 touchdowns for his career.

Most 2017 NFL Draft projections put him as a late round pick or undrafted free agent signee.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal