Greg Smith: "A Man Of My Word"

Auburn commitment Greg Smith talks about his decision to select the Tigers again out of junior college, his two years at Northeast Mississippi Community College and more.

Booneville, Miss.—Defensive tackle prospect Greg Smith, who committed to the Auburn out of Tyner High school in Chattanooga, Tenn., with the class of 2004, was not able to get qualified at the time and decided to go the junior college route.

Now, heading into the homestretch of his second football season at Northeast Mississippi Community College, Smith, who was Auburn's first public commitment for the class of 2006, says he can't wait to finally get down on the Plains.

"I am real excited about going to Auburn," he exclaims. "I feel like out of high school they stuck by me and as long as I have been here at this junior college they have written me. So, I feel like I am going to be a man of my word and go back there.

"They are doing me a favor so I make sure that I do them I favor," he continues. "I am going to make sure I come back there and let them know they have got a good football player."

He also notes that having the opportunity to come in next season and help the team is something that is very exciting. "What motivated me the most is when they told me that they had two three techniques leaving and they had a shade guy (nosetackle) leaving," he notes. "That is my position and I can play either, or. So, that really excited me, you know. I know I have got to come in and work for it, but working is no problem."

Smith was big in high school at about 6-1, 300, but he has gained even more size and strength at Northeast and is up to around 6-2, 1/2 320.

Although he has been working on getting even bigger the last two seasons, Smith says he has noticed that speed is a much bigger aspect of the game when you play at a higher level.

"Well, junior college ball is just fast," he explains. "Compared to high school--like right now if I watched a high school film everything would look like it was in slow motion. I know I played that ball, but there is just something about junior college ball. There is a lot of talent in this league."

Despite having to make some adjustments to the speed of the game, Smith has been a two-year starter for the Tigers and adds that this season is shaping up to be a special one. "We are 5-0 right now," he notes. "Coming up this weekend we play East Mississippi to go 6-0 and it would be the first time Northeast ever went undefeated in the regular season."

Big Greg Smith is a load on the inside for Northeast Mississippi Community College.

That 5-0 record has moved Northeast Mississippi Community College up to number three in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) poll for this week. However, Smith notes that the cancellation of three games early in the season due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina forced the team to work hard to stay focused heading into the season.

"Well, that has been kind of hard to get over because we practiced really hard," he says. "We practiced a good two months straight with no play. It was hard, but we just stayed focused on what we had to do and really it just made us a better team because we worked everyday."

So far this season, Smith says he has recorded four sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and a lot of tackles, although he adds that he doesn't know the exact number.

Still, despite playing well, and feeling very confident in his abilities, Smith says that there is one part of his game that he is working on right now. "I am a dominant player, there is no way one man can block me," he says with confidence. "So, I am working on getting better at handling the double teams and keeping my pad level down where I can split them and stuff. That is my main focus right now. I am trying to make sure I can beat the double teams. If I can beat the double teams then I have got the whole package."

Smith says he plans on having all of hiis academics in order to graduate in December and then join the Tigers for spring practice. He adds that he thinks that should give him a great jump start for his goal of being a major contributor for the Tigers in 2006.

"Yes, I am real excited about that," he says. "I think it will help me out a whole lot by learning the plays and knowing what I am doing wrong and stuff like that."


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