Smith's Smokin' In the 40 at Scout Combine

A Peach State prospect put on a show in his hometown at the Under Armour/Scout.com Combine in Atlanta.

Atlanta, Ga.--It's not like Branden Smith had much to prove as he headed into Sunday's Under Armour/Scout.com Combine at the Georgia Dome.

The cornerback from Washington High School in Atlanta has already earned a reputation as one of the top prospects in the southeast and the nation this year with more than two dozen scholarship offers before the start of his senior season, but he added some "wow" factor to his status with his latest performance.

Named Most Valuable Player at the event that drew several hundred prospects from Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and other states, Smith was an obvious choice as the combine standout.

Like he did last weekend at a two-day camp at Auburn, Smith was excellent in pass coverage drills. Also like he did at the Auburn camp, he showed he is a burner, running a 40-yard sprint that was time at 4.3 seconds by professional trainer Chip Smith of Competitive Edge Sports. The clocking was even faster on other stopwatches at the Georgia Dome.

Smith ran his smoking 40 on the spongy artificial turf of the Georgia Dome, which is normally slower than some other surfaces 40-yard dashes are timed on. He ran the time in a 60-yard match race featuring the fastest competitors at the event and notes that racing against live competition, instead of the clock, pushed him go even faster.

"I am really pumped," Smith tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I like the talent and the competition that was at the combine. We had good coaching that makes you work even harder and I have been working hard all summer. I really like that.

"I am really happy about my time," he adds. "I am proud of what I did today, but I would like to run even faster."

The cornerback, who is also a star on the Washington High track team, notes that he hasn't had extensive formal training as a sprinter, but that doesn't mean he hasn't figured out ways to improve his speed. "Basically I learned to run fast by watching television carefully and studying the technique and everything," he notes. "I practice the technique on my own."

Smith points out that his 40 times he ran on Sunday were the fastest of his life with the clocking at the 40-yard mark in the 60-yard race his fastest. He had previously run a 4.48 in his first 40 and then went under 4.4 in his second sprint vs. the clock before turning it loose with everyone at the combine watching his race as combine director Scott Kennedy set up the race featuring the guys with the fast times on Sunday.

"That was a lot of fun," he says of the race from one goal line in the Georgia Dome to the opposite 40-yard line. "I love competition. There is nothing else like it."

The cornerback says he also enjoyed the previous weekend where he spent two days on the Auburn campus for a football camp that featured a lot of talented high school players. "There was a lot of competition there in Auburn," he says. "It was a lot of fun getting to meet different people from different areas."

Branden Smith (in blue) prepares to cover a receiver in a seven-on-seven drill.

Although Smith declines to name a leader, he notes that Auburn is definitely on his radar and a college he is seriously considering. "I like the Auburn coaches," he says.

"Right now I have 28 offers and I don't have a favorite yet. I should have a top five towards the middle of the season. I am going to try to decide by the time I go to the All-America game, whichever one I decide to go to."

A two-way standout who plays safety on defense in addition to cornerback, Smith splits his time on offense between lining up at quarterback, running back and receiver. "I will play anywhere the coaches put me," Smith says. "I just like to help my team win. I am being recruited by colleges on both offense and defense."

Smith, who notes he has a 3.0 grade point average, says he is plans to major in communications at college and notes he has a special interest in broadcasting.

Commenting on the Scout.com event in Atlanta, he says, "The best part of it was the competition, especially the one-on-ones (wide receivers vs. the defensive backs. I am still learning and the camp was good for that, but most of all I just love the competition."


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