Jason Caldwell/Auburn 247, 247 Sport
James Smith, a 5-star defenseman from Carver High School in Montgomery, Alabama, has chosen to play in Alabama.
Smith announced his decision Wednesday along with high school teammate Jaquavious Russaw:
Rosie Langello @Rosie Langello
.Jaquavious Russaw and James Smith from @Carver_FB both go to Alabama! @wsfa12news pic.twitter.com/tfio19IMri
Tom Van Haaren @TomVH
Five-Star linebacker Jaquavious Russaw and Five-Star teammate James Smith have just signed up for #Alabama. Both top 10 recruits.
The Crimson Tide now has four five-star commitments in the class. #CrimsonTIde @ESPNCFB
He is 18th overall in the class of 2023 The composite ranking of 247Sports and second among defenders.
The 6’3″ Smith had 21 offers, including those from powerhouses like LSU, Ohio State and Georgia, but settled on Alabama.
“I like school,” Smith told On3’s Chad Simmons. “I like the coaching staff. I have a great relationship with the coaching staff. I felt like it was my home.”
247Sports Midlands Region Recruiting Analyst Gabe Brooks predicted that Smith would be a future Power Five starter, comparing him to South Carolina’s Zacch Pickens in his August 5, 2020 scouting report:
“Physical young defender who could fit on multiple fronts but probably projects best on 3-tech in an even look. Has the required size / frame. Blitzes consistently against the run and as a pass rusher. Bull in a china shop making games as a freshman with size, strength, tenacity Impressive closing speed for size.
“The physicality really stands out in such a young talent. Technical development and improved body control could become a real elite front-line defender.
According to 247Sports, Smith played in both defensive tackle and defensive end during his freshman year at Carver, where he spent his first two prep years. After his sophomore year, he transferred to IMG Academy but returned to his home state and is now back playing for Carver.
Alabama will now welcome him on board as part of the current top class in 2023, according to 247Sports. Smith and Russaw alone form an elite tandem on the defensive line, joining other proven players in a quest for more national championships.