"I was most definitely leaning to Clemson," Smith tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I took my first official visit to Clemson and I really liked it there. I was seriously thinking about going to Clemson, but then I took my visit to Auburn and got to meet and talk to Brad Lester, Ben Tate and Mario Fannin. That changed things."
Smith, a running back for Armwood High School, has been a primary target for Auburn since he stood out at an AU summer camp prior to his senior season. Lester, Tate and Fannin all played running back for Auburn this year and will be back for the 2008 season.
"I also got to talk to Coach Gran (running backs coach Eddie Gran) a lot on my visit to Auburn as well as Coach Tuberville and I really liked that," says Smith. "At Auburn it seemed like everybody wasn't putting on a show for me and the other prospects. They were just being themselves and that is what I really loved about them."
Commenting when he decided that he wanted to play for Auburn, he says, "I knew when I was there on my official visit and I really feel great about my decision."
Eric Smith is shown at his announcement party on Saturday.
Smith adds that he is excited about playing running back for the Tigers, who have a reputation for producing great runners. He spent time on his official visit with new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin discussing how he would fit in with what the Tigers are doing.
"Coach Franklin sat me down in his office and talked to me a lot and said he loved me in his offense," Smith points out. "He said I have good hands catching the ball coming out of the backfield. He said I am a playmaker and he liked that about me."
An strong student in high school, he plans to get a head start on college by reporting to campus on June 10 to take classes and begin workouts with his new teammates before preseason practices start in August.
Eric Smith runs at a summer football camp.
The running back made his announcement on his college choice before a packed house at Beef O'Brady's Restaurant, which is located near his high school. Coaches from Armwood High and the minister from his church introduced the running back, who says he was very honored that so many people came out for the event.
"It is very exciting," he says. "There are a lot people here who are close to me from my school who supported my decision. There were a lot of my friends and my family and it means a lot to me they came."