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December 25, 2012

Smith joins the Tigers

Mississippi State secondary coach Melvin Smith has agreed to join Gus Malzahn's staff at Auburn.

Smith will join Charlie Harbison coaching the secondary at Auburn, while Rodney Garner will coach defensive line and defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson will coach linebackers.

Smith broke into the SEC as tight ends and wide receivers coach at Ole Miss from 1992-1994. He moved to Mississippi State, where he coached wide receivers in 1995 and defensive backs from 1996-2001. He joined Dennis Franchione's staff at Alabama as safeties coach in 2002. He followed Franchione to Texas A&M, where he coached in 2003-2005.

In 2006, Smith returned to Mississippi State when Sylvester Croom was named head coach. When Dan Mullen was named head coach in 2009, he retained Smith on his staff.

In 2009, Smith mentored a young group, yet the Mississippi State secondary led the SEC with 17 interceptions on the season. Led by then-freshman Corey Broomfield's six picks, the corners improved as the season progressed. For his efforts, Broomfield was named Freshman All-Southeastern Conference.

In 2011, Smith continued to tutor Broomfield and Johnthan Banks, who developed into an All-SEC performer and was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. Thanks to Smith's coaching, Banks is 2012 preseason All-American and is generally considered to be one of the top corners in the nation this upcoming year.

Smith was a semifinalist in 2011 for the Frank Broyles Award, presented annually to the nation's top assistant coach.

"Melvin is an outstanding secondary coach and is one of the top recruiters in the Southeastern Conference," Malzahn said. "He has a reputation for his ability to develop players and his 31-year coaching resume speaks for itself. We're excited to have Melvin join our staff."

Smith, who coached cornerbacks for MSU since 2007 after coaching the entire secondary in 2006, mentored Jonathan Banks who won the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top defensive back. Banks was also a Walter Camp All-American and a first-team All-SEC selection.

This past season, Smith helped a Bulldogs defense that had 30 takeaways, which led the SEC and was 12th nationally. Darius Slay, a second-team All-SEC pick, tied for the league lead in interceptions with five, while Banks was tied for third in the league with four.

"I'm really looking forward to this opportunity to work for Coach Malzahn and Auburn," Smith said. "I've admired Gus' work from afar and have always loved his offenses. When we discussed this job, Gus told me that he was looking for men of character and integrity who were excellent coaches. When I saw who he hired to his staff and having worked previously with Ellis (Johnson), Charlie (Harbison) and J.B. (Grimes), I knew that's exactly that was the type of men he was hiring. This is a tremendous opportunity for me and my family."



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