Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Maason Smith announced on his Instagram that he would be entering the 2024 NFL Draft.
Smith came to LSU as highly touted a prospect as it got. The former five-star from Houma was Louisiana’s No. 1 prospect in the 2021 class but injuries kept Smith from delivering upon that promise.
Smith was limited to nine games as a freshman but earned Freshman All-American honors. In 2021 he had 19 tackles, 5 TFLs, and 4 sacks.
Smith was poised to have a breakout season in 2022, but he tore his ACL on the first defensive series of LSU’s opening game against Florida State. Between shaking off the rust, an ankle injury suffered in August, being suspended for this season’s game against Florida State, and not having a defensive line coach, Smith had a really underwhelming 2023 season.
Smith was thought to be a first round pick, but his draft stock absolutely tanked this season and all the projections have him going, at best, in the third round. That’s why it’s surprising Smith is declaring for this year’s draft.
LSU’s in a really tough spot at defensive tackle now. Between Smith and Mekhi Wingo declaring for the draft the Tigers have two defensive tackles currently on scholarship: Jacobian Guillory and Jalen Lee.
Returning #LSU scholarship defensive tackles:— Preston Guy (@PGuy77) January 10, 2024
DTs signed in 2023 class: 0
That’s why it’s so important to sign a complete starting 22 in every class.
Now the Tigers will be down to two players + true freshmen unless they hit the portal.
LSU will have to look toward the portal to get some depth, but if you go off 247’s rankings 18 of the top 20 defensive linemen who entered the transfer portal have already signed with another school. The portal will open back up in May, and when it does LSU will have to attack it like crazy. Otherwise you and me might be playing defensive tackle for LSU next fall.