Notre Dame Football Recruiting

ND Offer Important to 2019 MI DT Mazi Smith

June 27, 2017

2019 East Kentwood (Mich.) defensive tackle Mazi Smith made his way to South Bend for the Lineman’s Challenge on Saturday and left Notre Dame with big news. The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder was offered by defensive line coach Mike Elston before the camp had even completed.

“At first, coach Elston had told me I earned an offer,” Smith told Irish Sports Daily. “He pulled me aside during the camp and told me ‘I know you like it here.’ He then asked if I liked his coaching style.

“Then he told me ‘You have seen the campus, you have seen what we have to offer, you have seen me coach, and we have seen you. You have been working hard, and you have earned an offer.’”

If talking with Elston wasn’t enough, the four-star prospect and his family got time with defensive coordinator Mike Elko.

“I went into a meeting with coach Elko and reassured me it was an official offer and one I could post on Twitter,” explained Smith. “He sat down with my family and me; he told me I was an ‘offer guy’ and how I would fit into the program.”

Elko also made sure the Smith family was part of the conversation and understood his message.  

“They liked coach Elko’s talk,” Smith stated. “My aunt got in there and asked some questions. They were engaged, and it was a pleasant conversation. It felt comfortable environment when we were talking with him.

“Coach Elko went in-depth into Notre Dame and what he was trying to do with the 2019 class. He wants to change the culture on the defensive line at Notre Dame.”

Smith has been well-aware of the Notre Dame program, but he also knows an offer from the Irish isn’t something everyone gets.  

“I feel it’s a real achievement and it’s an important offer because it says a lot,” Smith said. “A Notre Dame offer speaks for itself as an Alabama offer speaks for itself when it comes to football. Notre Dame speaks for itself when it comes to academics and football because you have to be good at academics.

“The last thing I want to be is just a football player. All the coaches I have ever been coached by have emphasized being a student-athlete. It shows I can play on the field, but also I can do it in the books too.”  

The Michigan native has been to Michigan and Wisconsin over the past few months, and his next trip will be down to Alabama later in the summer. Smith has been told he can play either interior position, but he prefers to play at 3-Tech.

“Coaches have told me they see me playing either position,” stated Smith. “I prefer playing the 3-Tech, but I can play at 1-Tech too. You can do a little bit more from the 3-Tech, though.”

Smith is still using his visits to find out which school he feels the most comfortable at but he has a clear picture of what he is looking for in a program.

“I have been to a lot of schools and most of the schools I have been offered by,” said Smith. “I am looking for a balance between sports and academics. I want to go to the NFL, but not everyone has the opportunity. I want to make sure I come out of college set with a degree I can use in the real world.”  

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