Smith Hoping for Big Game

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn has 23 players from the state of Georgia, seven who are expected to start against the Bulldogs on Saturday. One of those starters is Rodgeriqus Smith, Auburn's second leading receiver this year with 22 catches for 363 yards.

"My house is probably 35 minutes away from the Georgia campus, plus I have a lot of good friends who play for Georgia," Smith says. "It's my first game against them, so I really don't know what to expect from those guys. It's my first game to play against them so it's really exciting for me right now."

Smith graduated from South Gwinnett High School, but knows some Georgia players from his days at Tucker High.

"I went to school with a lot of those guys over there so it's going to be a very exciting game for me," Smith explains. "I might call a couple of them up and talk a little smack to them. I'm friends with Thomas Brown, but he's hurt right now. That's one of my real good friends. I know (cornerback) Asher Allen because I went to high school with him. I've been looking at him on film and he looks pretty good for a freshman. I'll be looking forward to that."

Rodgeriqus Smith (left) is shown in the Tiger Walk with freshman defensive tackle Jermarcus Ricks.

Smith, a walk-on, wasn't recruited by Auburn or Georgia coming out of high school. He grew up a Florida fan, and says that he never really had aspirations of going to school in Athens even though it was nearby.

"I never was a Georgia fan," he notes. "I always wanted to get out of state and come to another college. I was just never an in-state guy. I never really thought about going to Georgia. I could have gone for academics on the Hope Scholarship, but I never had that in my mind to go to Georgia. I always wanted to get out of state."

It took an offensive explosion last season for the Tigers to beat the Bulldogs 31-30 in Athens, and Smith says he hopes the offense can hold up its end of the bargain again on Saturday.

"As an offense I think we are clicking," he notes. "Individually, all of us have stepped up in a major way. The past four games we've stepped up and made plays. We've had really good games these last few games, the tight ends and the wide receivers. We've just opened it up a little more and we've done more passing than we've expected."

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