5-star DL was in town for Florida’s Friday Night Lights

·2 min read

One of the top defensive linemen in the class of 2023, five-star James Smith, was in town for Florida’s Friday Night Lights and recruiting cookout over the weekend.

It was Smith’s first trip to the Swamp, but he left with a favorable impression of the program and Billy Napier’s staff, according to Gators Online.

“It was good. I had fun,” Smith told On3 and others. “We did activities and things, like a scavenger hunt. They had a lot of stuff to tell me. They want it to go back to how it used to be, just getting everything back in line.”

Smith included the Gators in his top 11 on May 8, 10 of which matched those of five-star teammate Jaquavious Russaw, who is considering making an official trip to Florida. The two are thought to be a package, but there’s a chance they commit to separate schools.

Smith made official visits to Auburn and Georgia in June and should be giving Alabama one as well. That leaves Florida to fight with Miami and Texas A&M, among others, for Smith’s services. There’s also a chance Smith makes a decision without taking any more officials.

Smith is No. 11 overall on the On3 consensus and No. 2 among defensive linemen in the class of 2023. He’s the top player to come out of the state of Alabama, so there’s no doubt Nick Saban and Co. are the group to beat. On3’s recruiting prediction machine has the Crimson Tide as 51.7% favorites to land Smith with Georgia in second place at 27.7%.


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