Two-Sport Standout Picks Auburn

This report features comments and game action videos of an in-state athlete who plans to wear an Auburn uniform.

Fort Payne, Ala.--Slade Smith, a baseball and football standout at Fort Payne High School, has committed to play baseball for the Auburn Tigers and new head coach John Pawlowski.

Slade, who is coming off an impressive junior season, is a 6-2, 185-pound right-hander who chose the Tigers over offers from Ole Miss, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Texas and others.

"It happened Saturday," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I went down and saw the coaches. I told them I wanted to commit face-to-face and met Coach (John) Pawlowski and Coach (Scott) Foxhall. I told them I was diving into the program and I was really excited about it."

Auburn had an ace or two in the hole in this recruiting battle. Smith's brother attended Auburn and his father, Ted Smith, was a talented backup quarterback to Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan in an era when the Tigers were stacked up with talented signal callers.

The new Auburn commitment is a standout football player, too. He threw seven touchdown passes in one game as a junior vs. Scottsboro and is a college prospect in that sport, but he plans to stick to baseball and plans to train year-round for that sport.

Smith is shown in action on the gridiron.

"I have been playing football my freshman through my junior year in high school so I haven't had time to really concentrate on the weight room," he says. "I have decided not to play football my senior year so I can concentrate on the weight room to get bigger and concentrate on baseball for my senior year and getting ready to go to Auburn."

Smith notes his decision to drop football hasn't been a real popular one in his hometown. "I have had a really bad time about not playing football this year," he says. "Fort Payne didn't like me for a while and part of them still don't."

Slade Smith

In baseball, Smith posted an 8-1 record as a junior, his third season on the varsity. He finished with a 1.53 earned run average and struck out 99 batters in 59 innings.

"I think my strength right now is knowing how to pitch," he says. "I just don't go out there just throwing a fastball. I know what pitch to throw, where to throw it and what count to throw it. I think that is my strong suit.

"I have a fastball, a curveball and a change," he adds. "Those are my three pitches. I know what pitches to throw and I can read batters pretty well."

Smith also hit .362 last as a junior and plays first base, but notes his focus for college is on pitching. This summer he played travel ball for the Alabama Bombers and visited campuses around the Southeast, but has finished his schedule for this year.

"I would say I consistently throw my fastball 88 to 89 miles per hour," he says. "On a good day I can bump it up to 90 to 91, or maybe up to 92. I stay up there pretty much throughout the day."

Smith, who plans to sign with the Tigers in November, says he is really looking forward to playing college baseball for the Tigers and plans to major in communications at AU.



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