Photo by Jason Caldwell

Leeds Standout Clarke Smith Talks About His Opportunity To Walk On With The Auburn Tigers

Leeds' standout deep snapper Clarke Smith talks about the opportunity to walk on with the Auburn Tigers.

Leeds, Ala.--Auburn has a long history of having walk-ons play big roles for the Tigers, many of them snapping for punts and field goals. One of the top deep snappers in the country and a four-year starter at Leeds, Clarke Smith just wrapped up an outstanding career with the Green Wave with his second consecutive state championship and now he’s ready to begin his career on the Plains.

“We had to live up to some of the expectations of the 2008 and 2010 teams,” Smith tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. “It was an unbelievable season. We just came together as a team.

“I’m beyond thrilled,” he added about walking on at Auburn. “Winning a state championship is awesome, but I think being an Auburn Tiger is going to be even better.”

A 6-3, 225-pounder, Smith started 58 games in his career at Leeds and was a big part of the offense as the starting center in addition to his duties snapping for both punts and field goals. A dependable player for Coach Keith Etheredge for the last four years, Smith is someone that has a chance to be a very good player for the Tigers he said.

“You don’t have to worry about those things,” Etheredge said of what it means to have a guy like Smith snapping on special teams. “It takes the stress completely off of you because that’s a lot of stress to worry about a fumble or bad snap every time you snap the ball. We don’t have to worry about that. Clarke has been solid since he walked in the door as a ninth grader and he’s put so much work into it because it means so much to him.

“He’s got a 4.3 GPA and a 23 on the ACT,” he added. “You can’t say enough good things about the kid. You never have to worry about him. He’s going to outwork everybody and he’s going to be at every workout. He’s just a class kid that comes from a class family.”

The double-duty day in and day out for Smith is something that he said comes naturally to him. Being able to play such a big role in back-to-back state championships is something he said will stick with him forever.

“To me it just means they have faith in me,” Smith said. “I started as a deep snapper my freshman year and progressively worked my way into being a center. To me it’s just an awesome experience to know they have that much faith in me.”

Smith will now bring that work ethic to the Plains to suit up for the Tigers. Excited about what the future holds he said for him it’s all about continuing the long tradition of deep snappers at Auburn and that only comes from hard work.

“Auburn has that mentality kind of like we do, it’s smash-mouth football,” Smith said. “It’s not about what’s given to you, it’s about what’s earned. Out of all the colleges that were looking at me Auburn had that “it” factor. It was like Leeds and that’s the reason I wanted to go there.”

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