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2023 Canes Recruiting Spotlight: DL James Smith, Edge Jaquavious Russaw

Can Cristobal pull top defensive line talent out of Saban’s backyard?

Jaquavious Russaw finished a 2 day visit to Miami and walked away impressed. Can we close the deal?
Jason Caldwell/ Inside The Auburn Tigers, 247sports

We NEED help in the trenches.

Cyrus Moss has another year before he’s ready physically, and Nyjalik Kelly is out for spring ball, vital if a freshman wants to pursue playing time in year one, due to injury. So we won’t see the future of the position on the field until next year.

And if we land either one of these 2023 recruits, they’ll play next year too, no doubt.

Jaquavious Russaw, Qua, is an elite edge prospect out of Carver high school in Montgomery, Alabama. #6 athlete in Alabama, #4 edge in the country, #39 player in 2023 overall.

At 6’2” 230lbs, Qua has the size to play as both a pass rush edge and in the box linebacker, making him extremely versatile in roles Miami needs playmakers badly.

His strength, speed and size are all ready to start and contribute to the Canes now. He’s simply built for it. Violent at the point of attack, Qua is a day 1 difference maker.

Lucky for us, he just visited the Canes for 2 days, coming away impressed with the staff, the energy at practice, and the enthusiasm around the program.

Looks like Cristobal brought out the welcome wagon for his trip:

And with HOFers like Jason Taylor at practice everyday, we made a great impression.

Also on that 2 day visit: James Smith, 5 star DL, also out of Carver high school in Montgomery. #1 player in Alabama, #2 DL in the country, #14 player overall in the 2023 class.

At 6’4” 310lbs Smith is a MAN ready to eat now for any top tier program in the country.

Smith spent last year at IMG academy in south Florida, but he’s back in Alabama for his senior season.

What’s crazy about Smith is how he moves for his size. He’s got a first step quickness and agility to him that’s truly scary.

Smith and Leonard Taylor on the interior of our line, with Qua, Nyjalik, and Moss rotating on the edges would be a nightmare for others, and a dream for us.

If Smith continues to develop on the exponential trajectory on which he’s been trending, no doubt he’ll be an NFL first rounder.

Do we have a chance?

These dudes are an hour’s drive from Auburn and less than 2 hours from Tuscaloosa, so Saban has been practically eating lunch with them at Carver every afternoon. Every elite program in the country has offered both of these guys, and they’ll have their pick to go anywhere.

Qua seemed most vocal and impressed with his visit to Miami. He continued to mention the energy and intensity of the practices like it was at a level he hasn’t seen yet. He hung out with Rohan Marley and Edgerrin James and Jason Taylor and Ed Reed and it seems like the Canes have a real shot with him. He mentioned he’ll be back, likely for an official visit later this year.

Smith was more subdued in his reaction. Does he want to be in Miami again after leaving IMG? I think Alabama and Georgia are the frontrunners. We’ll see if we can get him on campus again, but if not, I’d count us out.

Of course we want Smith, and it’s not over yet, but…we really really want Qua, and I think we have as good a shot as anyone for him, even Bama.