SEC Week for Slade Smith

Fort Payne (AL) High School righthanded pitcher Slade Smith, one of the top pitchers in the southeast, is making the rounds of three SEC schools this week. He visited Mississippi State Wednesday, is currently visiting Ole Miss and will probably visit Alabama Friday or Saturday.

And you can understand why he's making so many visits after seeing the scholarship offers that he has.

"Virginia Tech was actually my first offer," said Smith. "They offered before July 1st. I went up there and pitched in late June. And they offered that next day. I also had an (early) offer from UAB. I also have offers Jacksonville State, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Southern Miss."

And he thinks another school may come in with an offer soon, possibly as early as this weekend.

"I was expecting an offer from Mississippi State this weekend because (MSU head) Coach (John) Cohen was going to come see me pitch this weekend, but I'm going to skip my start weekend because I've pretty much gotten everything I wanted from the summer so far," said Smith. "I was hoping to get an offer from them this weekend, but since I'm not pitching I'm not sure."

Smith has been very proactive in regards to his recruiting, visiting schools throughout the south.

"I've visited Auburn, Virginia Tech, UAB, Mississippi State, Southern Miss and I'm about to tour Oxford and I'll probably visit Alabama Friday or Saturday," said Smith.

His most visit was to Mississippi State Wednesday. He talked about how it went.

"I toured their place, then I sat down with Coach Cohen and (assistant) Coach (Butch) Thompson yesterday after the game, and they seemed really interested," said the 6-2, 185-pounder. "I had known Coach Thompson when he was at Auburn and we had kept in touch. They came in a little later than the other schools for me, but it's early for them. But I'm hoping the interest I saw yesterday will spark an offer."

As for his list of favorite schools, two stand at the top with a third knocking on the door.

"Right now, Auburn and Ole Miss are my top two schools, then with Mississippi State coming into the mix I would say they would probably get on up there," said the hard-throwing youngster. "Those are the three that I'm looking at right now."

He explained in detail what each has to offer.

"I'm grown up an Auburn fan. My dad played football there. I've had two brothers who have gone there and my mom went there. And I'm grown up going to Auburn football games. It's a place where I have always seen myself. I've visited the new coaching staff and they seem like they are on fire about winning and on fire about turning around the program which really turns me on. Their facilities are great. And the talent is there."

Ole Miss
"Ole Miss ... I have my brother and sister-in-law here. And they are putting 18 million dollars into renovations on their facilities, which is unheard of. That is absolutely unbelievable. They've gone to the regionals the past six years. They lead the SEC in the lowest ERA. They are a pitching school. I'm really looking forward to learning more about that."

Mississippi State
"Yesterday was my first day to visit Mississippi State. And I was completely blown away with their facilities and their program, and the past that they have had and what they hope to look forward to with their new coaching staff."

When it comes time to select a school, there are several criteria that are most important to him.

"What I have told all the coaches so far is the main thing that I am looking for is, number one, the relationship with the coaches," said the very articulate youngster. "That is very important. I am looking for the type relationship that I have with my high school coach, and also, two, the relationship with the players. We all have a dream to do the same thing, winning and playing baseball and having a common love with that. Those are the things I'm looking for the most.

"And I guess facilities are always a plus. Also, knowing that I'm going into a program that is going to win. This is also something that I'm looking at."

But baseball, while important to him, is not the only thing he's looking at when visiting the colleges.

"One of the biggest things for me is the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) program," said Smith. "I'm not just a baseball player, but I'm big in my faith. That is big for me."

Keep it on for the latest recruiting news on Slade Smith.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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