Since backing off an early commitment to Clemson earlier this month, the interest in 4-star linebacker Rahshaun Smith has heated up leading into his senior season.
According to ESPN’s Gerry Hamilton, the Tigers are still in the race to land Smith, and they are one of three lucky programs to secure an official visit from the nation’s No. 2 inside linebacker and the No. 55 player overall in the 2016 class.
“I’ve got three official visit set up,” Smith told Hamilton. “So I got Clemson, Maryland and Auburn set up. I have Auburn Nov. 14 for the Georgia game, Clemson Dec. 11 and Maryland Dec. 4.”
A previously scheduled visit to LSU appears to have been cancelled, and he mentioned Miami, Oklahoma and Oregon as schools that could net his final two visits.
With his fall visit schedule beginning to take shape, the visits will play a critical role in his final decision—especially considering he has plans to enroll at his program of choice in January.
So which programs are trending with Smith entering the fall?
Both Auburn and Maryland are making a strong push to land Smith, who is originally from Baltimore.
As noted by Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports, both programs have reasons to feel good about landing Smith.
New Tigers defensive coordinator Will Muschamp impressed him when he took a visit to the Plains last month, according to Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports.
“When I went up there, it was crazy,” Smith told Niebuhr. “The first thing [Muschamp] did was sit me down in the meeting room and pull the film out. He showed me so many places he could play me at. From an outside linebacker to a rusher to a 'Mike.' It was so many places, it was like, wow.”
As he detailed to Hamilton, he also enjoyed the family vibe and the college-town feel on campus during his visit to Auburn. Another bonus for the Tigers is that he will get to experience the game-day atmosphere upon his return—which is significant since his other two scheduled trips to Maryland and Clemson will come after the season.
While he transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, for his senior season, going back closer to home for college appeals to him, which makes the Terps a factor.
As noted by Ahmed Ghafir of 247Sports, Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall made a huge hire in adding new director of player personnel Cory Robinson, who has an established relationship with Smith as noted by Hamilton.
Robinson and a prominent current Terps pledge are leading the charge to recruit Smith back to his home state.
“Because of what [Maryland is] building now—with the 2016 class and the facilities that are coming along,” Smith told Niebuhr. "They have a chance to make a run for it and [quarterback] Dwayne Haskins is a great recruiter. That’s one of my best buddies right there. They’re making a run for it.”
Haskins leads a strong class for the Terps that has a considerable amount of local flavor in it. Adding Smith to it would top off a huge cycle for Edsall and his staff.
While Clemson and a few other programs are still in the mix with Smith, it appears that Auburn and Maryland are going to figure heavily in his thought process until he makes a final decision.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.