Five-star DT Maason Smith talks Alabama Crimson Tide, Nick Saban
Maason Smith, the nation’s top defensive tackle (and No. 6 overall prospect) in 2021, isn’t taking his recruitment lightly.
“I really believe in making choices for the next four years and making it for the next 40,” Smith said on Sunday. “Networking and just how you carry yourself in academics bring you a long way, and there is such as not playing football, and I realize that.”
With an eye toward his eventual life without football, Smith took what he referred to as “an academic visit” to LSU on Saturday. There he met with supervisors in the business center, and he made plans to shadow a business grad in the coming weeks.
Smith is a top target for Alabama, but the five-star prospect from Houma, Louisiana, has both the Crimson Tide and LSU firmly on his radar along with eight other schools.
Ole Miss is not currently one of those eight teams even though the Rebels hosted the first camp Smith ever attended. Still, his interactions with Ole Miss helped Smith form a strong relationship with Alabama’s new defensive line coach (and former Ole Miss staffer) Freddie Roach.
“When he came to Alabama, and he started recruiting me again, he came to my school,” Smith said. “It was like we caught up then and there. Like nothing, like we never skipped a beat.”
That bond could prove critical in Alabama’s efforts to convince the state’s top prospect to leave Louisiana, but that’s not all the Crimson Tide has working in its favor.
“When I was growing up, I was an Alabama fan,” Smith said while reflecting on his visit to Tuscaloosa to see Alabama and LSU face-off last November. “So like that game, I watched that game since, shoot, I was like six. So you know it was crazy seeing it in real life for the first time.”
Alabama didn’t win the game on the field that day, but the Crimson Tide might have gained some ground in Smith’s recruitment. The defensive tackle said he loved the new lights in Bryant-Denny Stadium, and his highlight from the game was watching Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle return the punt in the first half.
Alabama’s final trump card in Smith’s recruitment is probably the Crimson Tide’s most valuable one. Smith likes structure, and he seems to know Alabama coach Nick Saban can provide that to him in a way few other coaches can.
“You hear a lot of things about him, but he’s honestly a really down to earth dude,” Smith said. “He’s just very structured, like I said, which kind of makes him come off as something that he’s not.”
Smith said he plans to return to Tuscaloosa in the spring, but he does not plan on narrowing his list of schools down from 10 anytime soon.
He might post a top-five over the summer, but otherwise, Smith doesn’t plan on committing until he puts pen to paper to sign his letter of intent.