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Football Recruiting: Three-Star DT Austin Smith is Commit No. 8

The Metro Atlanta product becomes Tech’s second DT in the 2018 class

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Commitments have been rolling in for Tech over the past couple days, and on Friday morning, the team added one more at a key position. Austin Smith—a defensive tackle from Ola HS in McDonough, GA—tweeted his commitment this morning, becoming the eighth player in Tech’s 2018 class.

Smith is rated as a three-star prospect on both the 247 Composite (.8355) and Rivals (5.5), and the latter lists him as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Georgia. Per Rivals, he had offers from Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky, and several other P5 and G5 schools.

Tech had two spots open at defensive tackle for 2018; the first went to four-star prospect T.K. Chimedza, who committed to Tech on Wednesday, and Smith will round out the DT class. It’s another key pickup at a position of need for Tech as the 2018 class finally starts to take shape.


Smith lines up as a defensive end in his high school’s 3-4 alignment, but while his role is different than what he’ll face as a 4-3 defensive tackle at Tech, his skills still shine through.

Smith shows two clear skills that should help him at the next level. Against the run, he’s very effective at shedding blocks in time to bring down the ballcarrier. This is partly because he attacks gaps well, which helps him to position himself to shed blocks. That in particular should prove useful in the middle of a 4-3 defense.

He’s also talented at bull rushing opposing linemen in the pass rush, pushing them several yards backward to create space for him to attack the quarterback. This also manifests in his offensive tackle film, as he’s shown shoving opposing defensive ends around with ease.

The biggest thing he’ll need to work on is keeping his pad level down. He’s strong enough to bully opposing linemen (on either side of the ball) at the high school level while standing up, but he’ll need to learn to get lower in order to get any leverage against college linemen. That’s a common enough issue for high school linemen, though, and it’s something that can definitely be taught once he’s on campus.

What to Expect

Smith shows skills that are useful for both DT positions in Tech’s four-man front, but assuming he adds 10-15 pounds of muscle once on campus, he seems more likely to end up at nose guard—if only because of Chimedza’s presence in the class. It’s also theoretically possible that Smith gets moved to the offensive line in the future.

Since Tech is now projected to have eight scholarship defensive tackles on hand at the start of the 2018 season, Smith will probably redshirt in his first season. Tech will have several experienced players at the three-technique spot, and Smith will need to bulk up to play nose tackle. Still, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he plays right away, and he has the talent to join the DT rotation before too long. He’s definitely a welcome addition to the 2018 class.

With Smith’s commitment, Tech is now up to eight players in the 2018 class—five of whom have committed since Wednesday of this week:

Georgia Tech 2018 Recruiting Class

Pos. Name Height Weight Hometown State Rivals 247Sports Comp Commitment Date
Pos. Name Height Weight Hometown State Rivals 247Sports Comp Commitment Date
OL Harrison Jump 6-5 257 Athens GA n/a 3-star (.8331) 6/5/17
DB Charlie Thomas 6-2 190 Thomasville GA 3-star (5.6) 3-star (.8563) 6/5/17
WR P.J. Harris 6-3 207 Newnan GA n/a n/a 6/5/17
DT T.K. Chimedza 6-2 265 Bradenton FL 3-star (5.6) 4-star (.8913) 6/21/17
AB Dontae Smith 5-9 173 Columbia TN 2-star (5.4) 3-star (.8348) 6/22/17
AB Tijai Whatley 6-2 180 Rome GA 3-star (5.5) 3-star (.8538) 6/22/17
LB JaQuez Jackson 6-1 216 Fort Valley GA 3-star (5.6) 3-star (.8329) 6/22/17
DT Austin Smith 6-3 275 McDonough GA 3-star (5.5) 3-star (.8355) 6/23/17