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Biggest man on campus

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Biggest man on campus

After two years, massive Greg Smith arrives at Auburn

Friday, August 18, 2006


Times Sports Staff pmarsh9485@msn.com

AUBURN - Even on a football team with at least 10 players who weigh more than 300 pounds, Greg Smith stands out in a crowd.

Smith, who stands 6-foot-1, weighed in at 345 pounds after finally arriving on the Auburn campus Tuesday night. He practiced with the team for the first time Thursday morning. But more than his weight, his width turns heads.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville described him as a larger, broader version of Tommy Jackson, the All-Southeastern Conference nose guard who finished his career last season and is now with the Atlanta Falcons.

"He's massive around the shoulders and chest," Tuberville said.

Said defensive tackles coach Don Dunn: "That's the biggest back I've ever seen." :big:

Smith traveled a difficult road to finally arrive at Auburn. Considered one of the nation's top defensive line prospects, he signed with Auburn in 2004 out of Tyner High School in Chattanooga. He failed to qualify academically and played two years at Northeast Mississippi Community College.

He thought he'd qualified earlier this summer after making the required grade in an algebra class but discovered on the day he planned to leave for Auburn that he needed eight more hours. He went back to work and finally got the news for which he'd waited for more than two years.

"I'm glad to finally be here," Smith said. "I worked real hard to get here. I had people trying to mess me up, but I stuck with it."

And Auburn, Smith said, never wavered.

"I went to junior college and told my coach I did not want to be recruited by anybody else," Smith said. "They stuck by me when they sent me to junior college. All the other colleges backed off. I kept my word and came back to Auburn."

The question now becomes when Smith, who will start out at nose guard and says he needs to lose at least 20 pounds, will be ready to help Auburn's defense. He says he's convinced it won't be long.

"I will play against Washington State (in the season opener)," Smith said. He said his new teammates are helping him take a crash course in first-year coordinator Will Muschamp's defense.

"The guys really want me to be on this team," Smith said. "And I appreciate that."

Auburn's coaches don't dismiss the possibility that he could see limited duty in the opener, but they'll have to be shown. Smith, under NCAA rules, won't be able to put on the pads until Sunday.

"He's got his mind right," Tuberville said. "We'll see what happens. We're glad to have him. He ran out there today and ran well. He realizes now it's time to go to work."

Dunn said he would reserve judgment until he sees Smith in pads. But regardless of when he plays, Dunn said, Smith showed his determination by doing what he had to do to join the team.

"He went through a lot," Dunn said. "They tell him on the day he's supposed to get out that he has more hours. A lot of kids would have just said to heck with it. That tells you something about him."

On a hot Thursday morning, Smith got his first taste of big-time college football.

"It was hot," Smith said. "I know that much. It showed me today about conditioning."

Smith's biggest challenge, Dunn said, will be learning the defense at the same time he is working to improve his conditioning and adjusting to attending classes and learning his way around campus.

"His head is swimming right now," Dunn said. "He doesn't know Hayley Center from Wal-Mart." :roflol:

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I walked by him yesterday while a coach was showing him around Haley yesterday afternoon. The funny thing was the coach wasn't even sure where to go.

One thing is for sure though, he is HUGE. The pictures don't even do it justice if you can believe that.

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