August 13, 2017
Braden Smith shakes hands with Ken Rice while receiving the Ken Rice Award on A-Day for being Auburn’s best blocking lineman in 2016.
By Brandon Gann
AUBURN, Ala. – All-America offensive lineman Braden Smith, an Olathe, Kansas, native, says a combination of the football program and the university itself drew him to be a Tiger.
“When I first came down here, it really had that family atmosphere,” Smith said. “I was really comfortable when I took my visit.”
That feeling was so impactful, Auburn was Smith’s only visit during the entire recruiting process, and Auburn has continued to be a fit for him. Smith has earned all-SEC team honors over the past two seasons, and second and third team All-America honors in 2016.
“Everybody’s got each other’s backs, not just when you’re here, but afterwards, when you’re an alum,” Smith said. “Everybody’s always going to be connected. I’m especially close with people on the [offensive] line. I feel like I’ll keep connected with them throughout life.”
It seemed like just yesterday that Smith came to Auburn and went through his first drills, and now he’s a senior.
“It flew by fast, that’s for sure. I’m basically the old man now,” Smith said.
The exercise science major wants to set an example of how to go through the process of being both a top-tier football player and a standout student to his younger teammates.
“Don’t take it easy your first year. Get after it,” he said. “Me being a freshman, I got onto the field early. I didn’t mess around with that.”
Smith still has his eyes on the future, with big goals for both himself and his teammates.
“Winning championships. Winning the SEC and the national championship, and playing the best I can play,” he said of the upcoming season. “I think we have all of the components to put something together.”
Once he leaves Auburn, Smith aspires to make it to the NFL and to physical therapy school one day, but he will always be grateful for his time spent among the Auburn Family.
“Thank you for everything,” Smith said. “I’ve always felt welcome here, and keep doing what you’re doing.”
Brandon Gann was a student assistant with Auburn Athletics Communications during the spring semester.
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