Seffner, Fla.--Sometimes you can tell a lot about a prospect by watching him run and workout at a combine or a camp. Other times it takes watching a player strap on the pads and get into action before you get the true measure of his talents. The latter is the case with Armwood standout running back Eric Smith.
While a big back at 5-11, 220, Smith doesn't have the blazing speed that some seem to think is required to play the position. Instead he uses his strength, vision, toughness and surprising quickness to pound opponents into submission. In just four games as a junior before fracturing his left elbow, Smith rushed for 550 yards and 12 touchdowns. That was enough for some of the top programs in the country to come calling but Smith says he's narrowed his list down to five and two stand out above the rest.
"There have been a lot of phone calls and a lot of text messages and everything," Smith tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I'm still narrowing things down at the moment or trying to narrow it down. Right now there is like a Top 5 with Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Miami and LSU.
"It's really just Auburn and Clemson," he adds. "I have a Top 5 but I really know the main schools are Auburn and Clemson. Basically whenever I see a big separation between the two schools that's when I'll be able to make that choice. Hopefully I see it as soon as possible because I'm ready to get it over with."
Choosing to spend much of his summer working out to get bigger and improve his best 40-yard dash time of 4.56 seconds, Smith says he has two camp visits scheduled at the moment. The first comes up this Saturday as he will be in Auburn for a one-day Senior Camp on the Plains. Smith says he also hopes to attend Florida's Friday Night Lights Camp later in July but if Auburn impresses Smith it wouldn't be surprising to see him pull the trigger sooner rather than later.
"I love the fact that it's a running back school and the fact that I know if I go there I'll be able to compete for a spot because they rotate two running backs a lot, a big back and a scat back," Smith says. "Coach (Greg) Knox text messages me a lot and also Coach G (Eddie Gran) to see how I'm doing. I know they put a lot of running backs on the next level and that's why I love their school."
In addition to his exploits running and catching the ball, Smith also excels as a blocker when called upon to do so. With a bench press of 325 pounds and a squat of 545, Smith should have no problem moving his game to the next level. He says that he has no problem sharing the load and knows that at Auburn he'll be called upon to do just that if he chooses the Tigers.
"When Coach Knox came and visited me in May he said they like to use the running backs in many different ways," Smith says. "He said he had watched my highlight film but also my game film to see what I do on plays when I don't have the ball. They like the fact that I'm a big back and I can block also. I love blocking linebackers and cracking down on defensive ends. I just like hitting and I can catch also. I have pretty good hands."