Smiths Station junior Carson Swilling said he’s always dreamed about playing baseball in the SEC. On Tuesday, Swilling took another step toward realizing that goal.
Swilling committed to play baseball at Auburn on Tuesday. The 6-foot-1 right hander said he will be a pitcher and outfielder for the Tigers.
“Auburn is a top 25 program in the nation. I felt it fits me well. I grew up right down the road from Auburn watching games, and I always wanted to be in that spot,” Swilling said. “There was a lot of prayer and thinking beforehand, and I’m excited to be a part of Auburn baseball.”
Swilling was productive in his junior season on a Smiths Station team that won 21 games in 2019. Working mostly as Smiths Station's center fielder, Swilling hit .333 with 27 hits, two home runs and 22 RBIs. He also pitched 9.0 innings with four saves, 15 strikeouts and a 1.00 ERA.
“They're getting a kid who is blessed with incredible arm talent. They're getting a kid who's going to need some polish but has a relatively fresh, unused arm, which is pretty rare in baseball nowadays,” Smiths Station coach Mike Ferry said. “The fact that he's doing what he's doing without a whole lot of work and a whole lot of polish just means he's got a really high ceiling. If he takes coaching, there's no telling how good he can be before he's out of there.”
As far as Swilling playing in the outfield is concerned, Ferry explained the junior has shown impressive instincts out at center.
“Instincts and natural reactions are things you can't teach. He gets good jumps on the ball out there. You don't really have to tell him, 'Hey, it's a right hander. It's going to slice to the right center-field gap.' He just instinctually knows that,” Ferry said. “Not everybody's blessed with guys who can throw it on a line from 300 feet away to the plate. He's got that ability. If they give him a chance to do that, he may do well enough to do that.”
Swilling said Arkansas and Clemson showed interest in adding him, but their pursuits paled in comparison to the attention Auburn gave to him. He spoke highly of the atmosphere around the team and their fans, saying they were some of the best in college baseball.
Getting the chance to play so close to home was another plus about joining the Tigers.
“Being right down the road with family and friends watching makes it a lot more special,” Swilling said.
Swilling thanked the Smiths Station coaches for helping him reach this point and said they’ve stayed on him to help him get better. Swilling added that the Panthers always have a good time and that the team is determined to come back strong after narrowly missing the state playoffs this season.
Although he still has another year at Smiths Station, Swilling had a message for the Auburn faithful who will watch him in college.
“I want the fans to know I’m willing to do anything to win,” Swilling said. “I like to play hard, go into Auburn early and do my best to compete.”