LSU defensive tackle Maason Smith declares for the 2024 NFL draft

The Tigers have now lost both starters on the interior of the defensive line after defensive tackle Maason Smith announced that he would be entering the 2024 NFL draft on Tuesday evening.

“Thank you to Louisiana State University for taking a chance on a kid from a small town like Houma. It has been an honor,” Smith said in his announcement on Instagram. “With that being said, my family and I have decided that it is time to take the next step in my career and declare for the 2024 NFL Draft.”

A junior and former five-star recruit from Houma, Smith appeared in nine games with four starts as a true freshman in 2021. He entered his 2022 season with high expectations, but he tore his ACL on the opening drive of the season against Florida State and missed the rest of the season.

Smith’s return in 2023 was highly anticipated, but it took him a bit to get back to his pre-injury level of play, and he finished the year with fewer sacks (2.5) and tackles for loss (4.5) than he did as a true freshman despite starting all 12 games he appeared in.

LSU is losing all three of its primary interior defensive line players as Mekhi Wingo also declared for the draft and West Virginia graduate transfer Jordan Jefferson exhausted his eligibility.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire