Stephen's Report

Alabama defensive back Maurice Smith leaning toward Miami Hurricanes

Alabama safety Maurice Smith (No. 21) during the 2015 season: Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

Touchdown Alabama Magazine learned Wednesday that safety Maurice Smith has narrowed his transfer options to three schools: University of Miami, University of Maryland and University of Georgia. The former four-star prospect is leaning strongly toward the Miami Hurricanes (ACC).

Smith has played in 38 career games during his three seasons at Alabama. He’s accounted for 38 tackles, five pass breakups and a forced fumble, but his best output came last year as a junior.

He totaled 15 tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack, a pass breakup and a forced fumble in 15 games during the Crimson Tide’s national championship campaign. He helped a secondary force 19 interceptions, with four returned for touchdowns. The Tide limited opposing quarterbacks to 200.6 passing yards/game and a completion rating of 50.5 percent in the 2015 season.

Smith earned his degree in three years, and would be eligible to play immediately once a decision is made. The 6-foot, 195-pound safety has raved about the possibilities of joining a talented Hurricanes’ secondary that has the likes of Rayshawn Jenkins (safety) and Corn Elder (cornerback).

Jenkins led the duo in interceptions (three), while Elder chimed in with two picks in Miami’s 8-5 season. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz saw his group allow 203.8 passing yards/game and force 15 interceptions. The Hurricanes lost its captain, Artie Burns, to the National Football League.

Prior to Miami, Diaz spent three years at Texas as a defensive coordinator/linebackers coach.

He compiled a 25-14 record, culminating in three straight bowl appearances. Smith, a Texas native, was recruited by Diaz to sign with the Longhorns in 2013—until he ultimately chose Alabama.

A chance to rekindle that relationship would be ideal for Smith.

He brought up the idea of attending Georgia or Maryland, nevertheless, Miami was heavily on his mind. A trip to Georgia would put him back with his former defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who is the Bulldogs’ head coach and defensive backs coach Mel Tucker. Smart witnessed four Southeastern Conference championships and four national championships in nine years under Nick Saban, including two conference titles and a national championship with Smith.

Tucker elevated the Tide’s secondary from suspect to superb last season.

It averaged nearly two interceptions a game (1.27), with Eddie Jackson six picks for 230 returns yards and two touchdowns leading the team. Miami, Georgia and Maryland all seems like solid landing areas for Smith, but with the excitement that Mark Richt has going in South Beach and the prior connection between him and Diaz—it’s safe to say he may be a Hurricane for the 2016 college football season.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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