Auburn just became a lot more formidable in the trenches.
According to ESPN, Braden Smith, one of the best interior linemen prospects in America, has committed to the Tigers:
The 4-star offensive lineman, according to 247Sports' composite rankings, is the 63rd-ranked prospect, No. 3 guard and No. 1 player out of Kansas in the 2014 class.
He drew interest and offers from coast to coast, but he eventually narrowed his choice down to TCU, Auburn and Texas A&M according to Alex Apple of the Dallas Morning News.
How do you think Smith will perform in college?
Smith is a specimen to behold.
Standing at 6'6" and weighing 290 pounds of mostly rock-solid strength, per 247Sports, he is an absolute load to handle inside. According to Kansas-Sports.com's Twitter feed, he bench-presses nearly two of himself and is one of the best shot-putters and discus-throwers in the state:
That raw strength translates to the football field.
While Smith could still use some development in pass protection, he is a physically imposing force in the run game. ESPN's scouting report (subscription required) calls him a "strong and nasty blocker," a "physically impressive kid" who "you want leading the way whether it's on a running play, off the bus or into a dark alley."
The Under-Armour All-American isn't the most athletic offensive lineman in the class, but he's someone who can control the trenches, as well as get to the second level and put an unsuspecting linebacker or defensive back on his behind with a highlight block.
It's always difficult to predict which freshmen will make an immediate impact, especially several months before the start of spring, but judging by Smith's combination of size, strength and toughness, it shouldn't be long before he's terrorizing opposing front sevens.