Auburn Lands Talented Back

Star running back Eric Smith made his decision Saturday and it's good news for Auburn fans.

Seffner, Fla.--It came down to a battle of the Tigers for Armwood High School standout running back Eric Smith and just like in the Chick-fil-A Bowl it was the Auburn Tigers that came out victorious as Smith chose Coach Tommy Tuberville's club over Clemson Saturday afternoon at a press conference at a local restaurant near his high school.

One of Auburn's top targets regardless of position since he put on a good performance at one of Auburn's summer camps, the 5-11, 225-pound Smith has been high on both sets of Tigers and took visits to both, but in the end chose Auburn.

Smith shown at Auburn's camp in June.

Smith put an Auburn hat on before a packed house at Beef O'Brady's Restaurant on Saturday afternoon and said, "I am not going to prolong it. It's Auburn."

That brought cheers from high school teammates, friends and members of his church who were there for the ceremony. The restaurant was decorated in orange with tiger ornaments on the table for the popular member of the Armwood High team, who had his minister and several coaches speak before he got on the stage and announced he would play for Tommy Tuberville's Tigers.

"I feel good about my decision," says Smith, whose mother was wearing an Auburn hat and whose father was wearing a Clemson hat for the ceremony. "After I made my visit to Auburn last weekend, I decided that was the best place for me," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers.

"I felt good being around the Auburn players and coaches on my visit to Auburn," he says. "I learned a lot about the program and felt like it was a good fit for me. Everybody I met at Auburn had a lot of good things to say about the school and that was important to me."

Despite being banged up for much of his senior season, Smith still managed to rush for 1,253 yards and 14 touchdowns on just 172 carries and also added 15 catches for 288 yards. He had seven 100-yard games this past season and earned Class 4A Third-Team All-State honors for his play. His biggest game came against Plant City when he rushed for 163 yards on 27 carries. It was the only time this season he had more than 20 carries in a game.

Smith's combination of running ability and the ability to catch the football out of the backfield makes him a good fit for Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin's spread offense. Smith noted on his official visit last weekend to Auburn that the coaches told him he would be used as both a runner and receiver, something which appealed to him a great deal.

He becomes Auburn's 22nd public verbal commitment and the second running back expected to join the Tigers next season, joining Daphne's Reggie Hunt. A good student, Smith plans to major in criminology at Auburn.

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