War Eagle Extra

Auburn wide receiver Jason Smith a big-play threat in waiting

Michael Niziolek


Auburn’s Jason Smith is used to making plays.

As a quarterback in high school and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, he established himself as a dynamic dual-threat signal caller, and caught the eye of offensive guru Gus Malzahn.

The Tigers coach immediately identified Smith’s vast potential.

“He is electric,” coach Gus Malzahn said. “When he has that ball in his hands, he can really do something.”

Malzahn brought Smith in as a wide receiver, and the sophomore quickly worked his way into the mix with a solid performance during Auburn’s spring practice and training camp.

Fans at the Georgia Dome Saturday saw a glimpse of how dangerous Smith can be.

Wearing a Tigers’ uniform for the first time, he caught a 56-yard pass for a touchdown from quarterback Jeremy Johnson in the third quarter.

The play was called back due to a holding call on guard Braden Smith, but the play was evidence that Jason Smith is ready for an expanded role.  

“I think he made an unbelievable route,” Malzahn said.  “At the top of the route, he leaned it and kept running through the football. He is a guy who is getting more and more comfortable in the offense. So definitely, we will see more of Jason Smith each game.”

Smith finished the game with only one catch for seven yards, but Malzahn is itching to get the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder more touches.

The coach admitted this week that might mean putting in a package of plays with Smith at quarterback.

“We may have a package for him,” Malzahn said. “He’s comfortable there, but it is kind of that balance.  We would like his role to be bigger in the receiver position. It is kind of that balance that you just have to figure out what is best to do. As the season goes on, he gives us a lot of flexibility.”

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

Related stories from Columbus Ledger-Enquirer