2014 National Signing Day: Auburn Tigers Load Up O-Line with Braden Smith
The Auburn Tigers completed one of the best turnarounds in all of college football this season, going from last place in the SEC in 2012 to BCS National Championship runners-up in 2013. They made that turnaround happen using Gus Malzahn‘s up-tempo, run-heavy offensive attack. That offensive system relies on a physical offensive line that can control the line of scrimmage and the Tigers have added a key piece on National Signing Day to continue that success with four-star offensive lineman Braden Smith.
The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Smith is considered by some to be the top interior lineman of this recruiting cycle. He’s the top overall recruit in the state of Kansas and rated as the No. 3 offensive guard in the country. He chose the Tigers over the Texas A&M Aggies and TCU Horned Frogs on Wednesday afternoon, giving Malzahn and the Tigers a serious presence in the interior for years to come. Smith’s strength and ability to dominate defenders will be put to good use in Auburn’s option-attack, paving the way for more huge rushing numbers in 2014 and beyond.
Securing another elite lineman is a huge boost for what has been an excellent recruiting cycle for Auburn. Malzahn clearly has a vision that works for the program and will continue to add pieces like Smith who can execute that vision to perfection. Adding a tough, strong, blocker with an edge like Smith is paving the way for sustained success in the SEC for Auburn, which is exactly what they need to meet their lofty expectations.
While the offensive line isn’t always the most glamorous position to recruit, getting the right guys into the trenches makes all the difference for a college football program looking to win it all. Auburn got a huge recruiting win by securing Smith for 2014 and should reap the rewards quickly.