AU Atmosphere Impresses 4-Star Defender

A report with videos on one of the more highly regarded prospects in the South is featured as he discusses his interest in Auburn and other colleges.

Knoxville, Tenn.--Attending Knoxville Catholic High it should come as no surprise to anyone that for most of the recruiting process the top two teams for 6-2, 205-pound safety prospect Harrison Smith were Tennessee and Notre Dame.

However, throughout the process Smith has kept an eye on the Auburn Tigers, as well as some other teams, and was able to make it down to the Plains over the weekend for the Tigers' 27-17 victory over Florida.

"It was a really neat atmosphere," he says about the big SEC showdown. "The stadium was real exciting, it was loud, the fans were really into it and after the game we went down into the locker room and I talked to Coach (Don) Dunn a little bit and Coach (Will) Muschamp. I also met Coach (Tommy) Tuberville, but I didn't get to talk to him that much, he was pretty busy after that win.

"I was impressed by everything down there," he adds. "I really like the campus. We didn't get to tour everything this time, but I have been down a couple times and I know some people that go there. I like the campus a lot, there is some grass.

Even though the Vols and Irish would seem to have some natural advantages in the recruiting battle for Smith, the talented safety prospect says that he came away from his visit with some strong feelings about Tuberville's program as well.

"I like it a lot," he says about Auburn. "I would say they are like top three of my schools with Tennessee and Notre Dame. I like them a lot."

Smith explains that one of the biggest reasons he is drawn to the Tigers is his recruiting coach, Dunn, Auburn's defensive line coach who recruits eastern Tennessee for the Tigers. "I like him a lot," Smith notes. "He is one of my favorite coaches that recruits me because he doesn't really get on you like most coaches. He'll call me about every week, but he only sends me a text about once a week.

"Other coaches text me all the time," he continues. "He is more like, ‘if you like Auburn you are going to be interested, and if not I am not going to push it' and I like that approach. He is a real straight forward guy and I like that."

He also notes that he is very impressed with Auburn's recent performances on the field. "I just kind of like the way the play, and I like the coaches," Smith says. "The main thing is I just kind of like how they play."

Along with the Tigers, Smith notes that there are some reasons he has been drawn to the Vols and Irish as well.

"Tennessee, I live in Knoxville so they have always been the team I have watched," he says. "I was kind of wondering about everything, but they are having a good year this year so I am interested in them.

"Notre Dame, I like Charlie Weis a lot and they are coming back around and they have all of that tradition up there so it is pretty interesting," he adds about the Fighting Irish.

Smith notes that he doesn't think he could hold out until signing day to make a decision and says that early January would likely be the latest he would make his final choice.

He also says that he is only going to take a limited number of official visits before making that choice. "No, I am not planning on taking all five," he says. "I have already taken one to Notre Dame. I'll take one to Tennessee, and I'll probably come back down to Auburn after the season is over or for the Georgia game or something."

The talented defender also says that a couple of key factors will be very important in helping him determine where he will attend college. "One of the main things is being comfortable with the coaches and then liking a place where I am going to live," he explains.

Heading into the stretch run of his senior season, Smith says he and his Catholic teammates are working hard to claim a state championship. "We are 8-0 right now," he says. "Last Friday we were ranked two in the state and we beat the team that was ranked one in the state 27-14. So, it was a big win for us. Our team is playing pretty good. We are getting better and better.

"I kind of like being a little underrated better though, actually, because that is how our team plays better," he adds. "We always prove ourselves and then get beat in the playoffs and we have got to keep that from happening this year and finally win a state championship."

As for his play on the field, Smith says he believes he is performing well, but adds that there is always room for improvement.

"On defense, I haven't gotten a lot of picks because they haven't thrown it much on my side," he notes. "I think I have about 900 rushing yards and a little bit over 40 tackles. I have got one pick. I should have two others, but I dropped them.

"That is pretty sad," he adds with a laugh.

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