It’s rare to see packages — where teammates commit to the same school — work in college football recruiting, but Alabama nailed it Wednesday, landing five-star teammates Jaquavious Russaw and James Smith.
The 2023 recruits had the same roster of schools, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State and Alabama State. The Crimson Tide won, however, and they get two very good defensemen.
“Just the winning program,” Russaw told ESPN. “Great program, great place to be, and they can do a lot for you. It’s a legendary program.”
Russaw is the No. 7 overall prospect and No. 1 outside linebacker at Carver High School in Montgomery, Alabama. Smith, who is the No. 11 overall rookie and No. 2 defensive tackle, is 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds.
The teammates visited most of the schools on their list and made it a point to find the same school together.
“It was quite important [to pick the same school]”, Russaw said. “At one point, our recruitment, we were looking at different teams, but we came together.
Despite nearly every major program recruiting the two defensive five-stars, Russaw said Alabama separated itself by what it could offer on and off the field. Ultimately, for both, it was Nick Saban and the consistency he built that put the Crimson Tide above.
“Coach Saban, he’s an exceptional guy,” Russaw said. “He’s going to be honest with you and let you know what you can do for the team. It won’t be easy, but if you come in and focus on the ball and school, you’ll do well. “
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