AU Signee Smith Living A Dream

Auburn signee Ryan Smith talks about getting an offer from the Tigers and signing on Wednesday.

Cordova, Ala.--Growing up an Auburn fan, talented athlete Ryan Smith committed to the Kentucky Wildcats early in his senior year after deciding not to wait any longer for an offer from the Tigers. He didn't make it to signing day with the Cats though as Gene Chizik came through with an offer early in January.

On Wednesday Smith made it official when he signed on the dotted line with Auburn, fulfilling a lifelong dream for the 6-2, 205 safety.

"When I was young it was always Auburn," Smith says. "I would go down there to games. Through the recruiting process things changed some, but that's always where my heart has been.

"I had talked to coach (Phillip) Lolley before and I kind of knew the scholarship situation," he adds. "I was happy they were coming back in the picture. He worked to make the scholarship slot come open for me. He made something happen so that showed he really wanted me."

With an offer in hand Smith took an official visit to Auburn last weekend to check out the program and also get a feel for what things would be like if he wound up on the Plains. He says that only made his feelings about Auburn stronger once he got on campus.

"It meant a lot to me," Smith says. "I enjoyed it and liked the visit. All the way around it was good. It felt like I was at home."

One of the big selling points for Smith was Auburn's lack of depth in the secondary. By the end of the 2009 season cornerback Demond Washington was starting alongside true freshman Daren Bates at the safety spot for the Tigers because of injuries to projected starters Mike McNeil and Zac Etheridge. Still looking for help at the position, Smith says he's excited about the chance to come in and compete right away.

"The thing that sold me was just that safety slot," Smith says. "Last year they had a lot of injuries there and they're looking for players. Coach (Chizik) basically told me that I'm his guy and who he wanted. My heart had been there. He made me understand how he needed a safety to come in and play. That sealed things for me."

A talented player that helped the Blue Devils to a state title in 2007 and three consecutive championship game appearances, Smith played quarterback as a sophomore and junior before moving to tailback his senior year. All he did was rush for 1,856 yards and 26 touchdowns to earn Class 3A Back of the Year honors. He also added over 80 tackles and nine interceptions on defense.

As a junior he rushed for 1,376 yards and 19 touchdowns and added 1,274 yards and 20 touchdowns through the air. He added 70 tackles and six interceptions on defense and says his strength as a defender is his ability to make plays.

"I feel like I can cover, but at the same time I run to the ball well," he says. "I can find the ball. I guess playing safety in high school I was mostly free and I got to the ball. That's one of the my strong points."

With his spot in Auburn's class secure and his future in orange and blue, Smith says he's just ready to get it going and see what the future holds for him on the Plains.

"I'm ready to get down there and work," Smith says. "I'm ready to help the program be where everyone wants it to be."

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