Auburn's Braden Smith likened to Rocky character 'Drago'
Auburn offensive lineman Braden Smith can walk into a room and immediately grab your attention. Smith is anything but your average college freshman. The Olathe, Kansas product stands 6-foot-6 and weights 299 pounds. Literally Auburn’s biggest recruit this spring, Smith chose Auburn over TCU and Texas A&M this past February on National Signing Day.
Friday during Auburn’s first fall practice Smith made an instant impression on Auburn’s starting center Reese Dismukes, a three-year starter whose faced some of the biggest players in the country during practices and games.
“He looks like the Russian off (the movie) Rocky – Drago or whatever his name is,” Dismukes told Auburn Undercover. “He looks like that guy, and he’s a freshman. He’s the only one I’ve had a lot of contact with. I didn’t really get to watch him practice today, but from captain’s practices and that kind of thing, he looks like he’s going to be a really good player.”
Smith, a four-star recruit who was an Under Armour All-American, isn’t a chunky offensive lineman. His is athletic, flexible and has massive strength. Less than two months before officially committing to Auburn, a video was released of Smith benching 515 pounds.
During the recruiting process, Auburn offensive line coach J.B. Grimes loved what he saw on tape from Smith.
“You put the tape on and he’s playing guard, so he’s running a lot,” said Grimes. “They pull their guards a lot like we do. You sit there and you are watching this kid and you know he’s a legitimate size guy. He’s stronger than train smoke. And then you put the tape on and watch him run. Then you watch him bend. He plays with really, really low pad level.”
The decision to come to Auburn over Texas A&M and TCU wasn’t an easy one for Smith, according to the Kansas City Star. Smith said Auburn was “the best fit for him.” The similarities between the offenses at his high school, Olathe South, and Auburn was one reason he chose the Tigers. The departure of left tackle Greg Robinson also played a part in Smith’s decision.
It is too early to tell whether Smith will get playing time this season or he is redshirted. With the season-ending injury to Alex Kozan announced yesterday the offensive line will need some depth. Smith could see some playing time this year.