- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
HOOVER, Ala. -- It was another in-state recruiting battle between Alabama and Auburn for Mobile, Ala., athlete Jason Smith, and it was Auburn who came out on top. Smith committed to the Tigers earlier this month.
“I loved the school, the atmosphere, the coaches,” Smith said. “I feel at home whenever I visit. The coaches are cool, down to earth, but I know when it’s time to play, it’s time to play.
“I actually told Coach [Gene] Chizik at the camp I went to. I told him that I really liked Auburn and I think I would end up committing. He was trying to keep his mouth closed about everything, but he said it was hard to do.”
Smith’s decision came just three days before Reuben Foster flipped from the Tide to the Tigers. Auburn already has four commitments this month and 17 overall, and the recent success has bumped its class up to No. 6.
“Our class is going to be a big class and do some things in the future, especially in the SEC,” Smith said. “We have a lot of kids who could start. I know they work hard, and a lot of them are five-star and four-stars. I look forward to playing with those guys.”
This weekend, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Smith is playing quarterback for McGill Toolen High School at the National Select 7-on-7 tournament in Hoover, Ala. Although he’s split wide as a receiver at times, he’s the team’s primary quarterback.
Even with Carver quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who’s also in the 7-on-7 tournament, already on board, the AU coaching staff wants to let Smith start out at quarterback.
“They’re going to give me shot at quarterback first,” he said. “That’s what I asked every school. Alabama, they said they’d give me a chance. Every school I got an offer from said they would give me a chance. I just felt that Auburn was the best fit for me.”
If it doesn’t work out as a signal caller, Smith said he would like to play wide receiver because of his athleticism.
Even though his commitment is behind him, that hasn’t stopped other schools from still trying to recruit him. Smith has heard from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, and he plans to visit all of those schools in the fall.
He says Alabama still wants him to come take his official visit, and that it’s not over until he signs his letter of intent.