Relationships are key in Aggies' early advantage with '21 DT Maason Smith
2021 Louisiana defensive tackle Maason Smith is becoming quite the aficionado when it comes to making recruiting visits and knowing what to look for.
This spring, he’s made stops at Alabama, Florida and LSU, with summer visits planned to Miami, Ohio State and Virginia. However, the two trips that have stood out most to him have been the ones he’s made to Texas and Texas A&M.
“I don’t know what it is about Texas, but visit-wise, those have been two of the top three schools that blew my mind,” he said. “The hospitality out there is like nowhere else.”
Smith was in College Station last weekend, and reported that as far as unofficial visits are concerned, the A&M staff did all it could to pull out all the stops and show him a good time. He said that it was his first trip to Aggieland, but it won’t be his last.
“When I got up there, I didn’t know what to expect, but coming out of it, it’s definitely one of my top schools,” he said. “They just blew me away with their facilities and how great of people they are. Another thing that stood out on the visit was I really felt like their main focus was me. They brought me everywhere, showing me around, introducing me to people and I just can’t wait to build a better bond with the coaches.”
As with most recruits from Louisiana, the measure of risk that LSU has an inherent upper-hand in their considerations is always present. Smith said even though most people from his hometown support the Tigers, that’s not an influence on his recruitment.
In fact, the SEC team that could be the biggest threat to the seemingly early lead the Aggies have with him may be Florida. Smith said that his father is a ‘die-hard Gators fan’ and also had positive things to say about his visit to Gainesville, when he was in attendance for UF’s spring football game.
“They have Coach [David] Turner from Texas A&M over there and he’s real nice,” he said. “He was really nice and another coach that has really opened my eyes - down-to-earth and talked to me about everything. We had a lot of one-on-one time when I was over there. Things with them are real nice and I talk to them on the daily too; they’re up there in my top schools with Texas A&M.”
Staff relationships are clearly a big factor with Smith at this point, and he knows every coach at every school that he is favoring on an ever-growing list. Fortunately for the Aggies, he said that his connections with area recruiter Bradley Dale Peveto and defensive tackles coach Elijah Robinson are as strong as he has with anyone so far in the process.
“To be honest, I really love Texas A&M,” he said. “It’s really nice how they took care of me and my family and had open arms welcoming us in. Me and Coach Peveto, we’ve been having a real good connection since they’ve started recruiting me … He’s one of those dudes that always has a smile on his face, he’s never down - and I like that in coaches.
“I feel like him and Coach [Elijah] Robinson want me as an athlete, but they also like me for who I am - they’re not just trying to use me - I feel good about the relationship outside of football.”