MURFREESBORO − Most of the talk around Smyrna football this week has been the flood of Power 5 offers senior linebacker and Memphis commitment Arion Carter has gotten over a span of four days.
Senior defensive lineman and fellow Memphis commit Jayden Marable, who has played on varsity with Carter since their freshman season, realizes the new recruiting developments might mean the two may not continue that bond for four more years.
"He's got to pick what's best for him," Marable said. "He's going to do his work and I'm going to love him. We may not end up going to the same school, but he will be my teammate forever."
Marable has done his part to keep Memphis fans excited, joining Carter to help make Smyrna one of the top defensive teams in the area.
He had eight tackles and two sacks, one of those forcing a fumble that he returned 27 yards for a touchdown, in the Bulldogs' 15-5 win over Riverdale on Friday night.
The defensive touchdown was the first of his career.
"I was just really excited," Marable said. "I thought I was fixing to drop the ball for a second, but I saw I had it secured, and I had to get to that end zone."
"I've seen him play some really good games," Smyrna coach Matt Williams said. "But this might have been one of his best. He had a heck of a game last year against them (Riverdale). He's unblockable. I've said that over and over again. He's such a good player and a great kid. He's really fun to be around."
The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Marable committed to the Tigers on June 25. He said Memphis coaches have done a good job communicating, even after the commitment.
"I'm real excited (about Memphis)," said Marable, who plans to take a visit to Memphis in the next couple of weeks. "(Defensive line) Coach (Kyle) Pope and Coach Ryan (Silverfield) stay in touch and make sure I'm good and my family's good."
Marable now has nine tackles for loss and three sacks this season. Smyrna (5-0) has allowed just 18 total points in its last three games and hasn't allowed more than 14 in any contest.
"It starts with (defensive coordinator and weightlifting coach Gabe Villarreal)," said Smyrna senior quarterback Landon Miller, who returned to the lineup after injuring his shoulder during Week 2. "He brings the same energy every day."
While Carter has quickly become one of the state's top linebackers, it all starts up front with Marable, nicknamed "Juice" by his teammates.
"He's a star," said Miller, who was starting at free safety before the injury. "This is what Juice is, showing us what he can do."
"I just told my teammates I'm going to give my best every game," Marable said. "I'll make big plays and they'll hype me up, and they'll make big plays and I'll hype them up. I love my team. We're a big family, and I love it."
Reach Cecil Joyce at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @Cecil_Joyce.
This article originally appeared on Murfreesboro Daily News Journal: Memphis football DL commit Jayden Marable has 27-yard fumble return TD