Alabama landed a much-needed big man on the defensive line on Wednesday as James Smith of Carver-Montgomery decided to roll with the Tide. The 310 lb. load ranks as the top prospect in Alabama and the 2nd ranked defensive lineman in the class. The scouting report from Gabe Brooks at 247 is quite exciting.
Athletic context lacks any of the desired perspective beyond functional, on-field evidence. Passes the eyeball test on tape and live. Experienced at myriad LOS spots, from the edge to the interior and all points therein.
Shows startling two-point edge athleticism for his size. Juice translates to perimeter pursuit range. Capable of chase-down athleticism from the back side. Also flashes uncommon redirecting twitch edge to edge. Launches out of stops — while maintaining body control — to redirect with purpose and efficiency.
Shows some pass-rush nuance with swim and rip moves. Explosive burst at the snap gets him on top of blockers in a hurry. Knows how to get skinny and knife into gaps. Quick, slippery penetrator who’s at his best when asked to get up the field.
Lack of interior pass rush has been an issue for a few seasons now, and a talent like Smith next to rising sophomore Jaheim Oatis could go a long way toward addressing it. Smith plans to enroll early, so we will get our first preview of him in the spring.
Welcome, James, and Roll Tide!