© 2023 BVM Sports. Best Version Media, LLC.

Qua Russaw, James Smith sign to Alabama as 5-star package deal

Qua Russaw, James Smith sign to Alabama as 5-star package deal
Carver's Jaquavious Russaw (1) and James Smith (3) celebrate a stop for a loss against Daphne during their game at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., on August 25, 2022. (Credit: © Mickey Welsh/Advertiser/USA TODAY NETWORK)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BVM) – Five-star senior football players Jaquavious Russaw and James Smith from G.W. Carver High School weren’t ready to play their final game together. So on Wednesday, the duo announced their decision to commit to Alabama and they signed their National Letter of Intent together. 

This package deal makes up the top two players in the state of Alabama. Russaw is ranked as the No. 7 player nationally (No. 1 OLB) and Smith is ranked as the No. 11 player nationally (No. 2 DT) in the Class of 2023 by ESPN. In the 247Sports Composite, Russaw is ranked as the No. 3 edge rusher and Smith is ranked as the No. 2 defensive lineman in the nation. 

As teammates on the field, but friends off of it, they made it publicly clear that they planned on playing for the same college team. They were asked why it was so important to play at the same school together during their announcement that was broadcasted on ESPN2. 

“It was important because we come from the same background and we just do everything together,” Russaw said. 

The duo did almost all of their college visits together before forming their top five which were Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Florida and Alabama State. But they ultimately came to their own decisions as to why Alabama was a good fit for them as individuals. 

“With the tradition over the years, we just know we’re going to go there, going to get pushed hard and hopefully be a legend,” Russaw said. 

“It felt like home to me, just [want to] go be great and win,” Smith said. 

This past season, Smith (6-foot-3, 310 pounds) racked up 75 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and nine sacks and Russaw (6-foot-2, 230 pounds) totaled 80 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, five sacks and an interception. The defenders led the Wolverines to an 8-2 record this season and an AHSAA Class 6A Region 2 championship. 

The Crimson Tide’s class now includes six prospects who are listed as five-stars – leaving Alabama’s recruiting class still ranked as No. 1.