“It has been a lot of fun for me getting to know these guys,” Smith said of his time at Mississippi Gulf Coast. “Even though I’m not going to be here for a whole two years getting to play I have met a lot of great guys here. I have had fun grinding with them and starting off this season great.
“Last year helped me a lot,” he added. “I got a chance to learn how to read defenses, get my arm stronger and focus on school. It just helped me a lot in every way. I have gotten better with my passing game. I am more accurate. My arm has gotten stronger, too. I think our offense is a good fit for me. I can spread the ball around and get it in the playmakers’ hands.”
The offense he directs is very similar to the one that Auburn runs, something Smith will get to see in person this weekend when he takes his official visit to see the Tigers take on LSU. Planning to enroll in December and go through spring practice, he pointed out he is looking forward to being back on campus with his family once again.
“I’m very excited,” Smith said. “This is going to be a big game. I’m really excited to be there with my family. I like to see my mom smile and she talks about how she can’t wait for me to be there. As long as they have fun and they are happy then I’m happy.”
Joining Smith will be a pair of teammates from Mississippi Gulf Coast. The top cornerback prospect in the junior college ranks and a fellow Auburn commitment, Tony Bridges will be seeing his first Auburn game in person this weekend while on his visit. Getting a strong push from in-state Ole Miss, Bridges’ trip will be a big one for Auburn this weekend. Also making the trip is defensive tackle Maurice Swain. A lean to the Tigers, he could be an important addition to the class if everything goes well. Smith said it’s his job to make sure that happens this weekend.
“I’m going to keep their mind on Auburn,” Smith said. “I’m going to keep letting them know that it’s the place to be.”
Originally signing with Auburn out of McGill-Toolen High in Mobile before being forced to go to junior college because of academics, Smith has stuck by the Tigers and has never wavered in his choice to play football on the Plains. He said much of the reason for that is the loyalty and love he’s gotten from Auburn in the last three years.
“It’s just the offense and the family atmosphere,” Smith said. “It’s just about the love that the fans show.”
That love has come not only from the fans, but also from the coaching staff as well. Continuing to have a strong bond with Coach Gus Malzahn, Rhett Lashlee, Dameyune Craig and company, Smith said it meant a lot to him as well as Bridges and Swain to see Malzahn and Melvin Smith at their game last week.
“It showed me that they are very interested in me coming up in December," he said. "To see that means a lot to me.”
Malzahn got to see Smith at his best in a win over Jones County. Completing 16-20 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns in the 42-3 game, he also added 21 yards rushing and another score on the ground. Just wanting to get his shot to play quarterback at Auburn, but willing to move to another position if needed, Smith said getting a chance is all he’s looking for when he arrives at Auburn next season.
“They said everything they told me from the jump is still standing,” Smith said. “They said nothing has changed. I’m still going to get my shot at it.”
Smith, Bridges and Swain will be part of a large group of official and unofficial visitors on the Plains this weekend for Auburn’s showdown against No. 15 LSU.
Tiger Ticket Extra: Mississippi Gulf Coast improved to 5-0 Thursday night with a win over Southwest Mississippi. Smith injured his ankle early in the contest and didn't finish the contest.