The NFL world has just witnessed a fierce season final week. Some below-average teams showcased remarkable performances, while some big teams recorded a series of lackluster performances in the last few weeks. Sports enthusiasts are now waiting to enjoy the next level of intensity in the playoff games.
Meanwhile, the college football program has been witnessing a significant shift lately. This is the time for the elite players in the campaign to think critically about their next destination. Following Brock Bowers, Cam Ward, Drake Maye, and Brenden Rice’s inclusion, the Louisiana State University football program’s Malik Nabers announced his NFL draft enrollment. Now, his fellow defensive tackle Maason Smith has also decided to follow his path.
LSU DT Maason Smith declares for the 2024 NFL draft
Maason Smith has officially announced his entry into the 2024 NFL Draft after a commendable journey with the LSU football program. Hailing from the small town of Houma, the young star expressed gratitude to LSU for the opportunity to showcase his skills on a grand stage. He conveyed this crucial decision to explore his next journey in an Instagram announcement.
“Thank you to Louisiana State University for taking a chance on a kid from a small town like Houma. It has been an honor. 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,” he said via Tigers Wire.
As a true freshman in 2021, Smith made an immediate impact on the squad and even earned recognition as a 2021 Freshman All-American. He showcased his potential with 19 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks, despite having limited appearances due to injury.
However, the former five-star prospect tore his ACL during the 2022 season opener, sidelining him for the entire year. The anticipation for his return in 2023 was met with tempered expectations as he navigated his recovery process. While displaying glimpses of his former prowess, the DT showcased a performance not quite at his pre-injury peak. He concluded the 2023 campaign with 28 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups, and 2.5 sacks across 12 games.
LSU community reacts to Maason Smith entering 2024 NFL Draft
Maason Smith joined his fellow DTs Mekhi Wingo and Jordan Jefferson as interior defensive linemen to announce the 2024 NFL Draft. This back-to-back announcement will indeed fall heavy on LSU, as pointed out by many fans.
A page wrote ,”Maason Smith has officially declared for the NFL Draft and now LSU has lost both its starters on the DL. Now becoming a priority to add players to the unit.”
Losing such key pieces on the defensive side is going to be a significant setback for the program. Many sports enthusiasts have already started painting the picture of a struggling LSU squad in the upcoming season.
A netizen wrote, “Boy we gonna be ROUGH next year at LSU.”
However, many fans think exactly the opposite, as they don’t think that the DT had any such notable achievements at LSU.
A person wrote, “Maason Smith is one of the biggest disappointments/bust in LSU history.”
Some netizens pointed out that the young star is a great player but he is probably a third-rounder at best. Especially after tearing his ACL, his chance to become a first-rounder is quite impossible. So, they think it would be wise for him to improve his draft stock by playing one last season at LSU.
A user wrote, “Maason Smith declaring for the draft is a bit of a head scratcher. So much to gain by coming back one last season. I get you risk injury by coming back but why not try to improve your draft stock?”
While NFL fans might be divided on Maason Smith’s decision to foray into the draft world, his future will undoubtedly be in a precarious position. The NFL Draft process sometimes witnesses unusual scenarios, and who knows if the same happens with the defensive star. We hope the best for such a promising young star.