Last weekend he was one of over two hundred prospects on hand to see Coach Gus Malzahn and the Tigers take down the Georgia Bulldogs in one of the games of the year in college football. Needing a 73-yard deflected pass for a touchdown and a last-second stop by the Auburn defense to take a 43-38 win, Smith says the atmosphere was intense from start to finish.
"It was my second time going there for a game and it was pretty wild," Smith tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "It got pretty loud there at the end. The fans really stayed in the game. It was a great gameday atmosphere. They are real family-oriented. They just seem like they are together as a family right now."
Saying that he spoke some to Nick Ruffin while on the visit, but didn't spend a lot of time with many of the other recruits, Smith says that he really focused on soaking in the atmosphere and the game on Saturday. That meant focusing on the play of the linebackers and the defense as a whole. Knowing that the Tigers are looking to shore up his position in future classes he says that early playing time is just one of the things that excites him about Auburn.
"I can tell their defense is young and needs some help," Smith says. "You can tell they don't have all the pieces they really want in place. But they're going out there fighting and giving their all.
"I see Coach Gus Malzahn knows how to get a team together," he adds. "I never expected Auburn to be sitting at 10-1 now after a three-win season last year. I thought they would have about six wins and become bowl eligible in Malzahn's first year."
Already with offers from Clemson, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt and several others, Smith says he's in no rush to make a decision with still another year left, but he admits his recent trip to Auburn has definitely upped the Tigers in his mind.
"I'm still kind of open at the moment," Smith says. "Auburn has really helped themselves a lot. My coach was speaking good about Auburn and it's a good place. A few guys from this area like Nick Marshall and (Montravius) Adams went over to Auburn. They're from like the same area I'm from."
Despite his junior season ending in a first-round playoff exit, the playmaking linebacker had a monster season. Playing in just nine games because of a sprained ankle, Johnson finished with more than 110 tackles, 30 tackles for losses, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and two interception returns for touchdowns. Playing wide receiver on offense he added over 600 yards receiving.