AUBURN, Ala. – This time next week, most the lingering questions will be answered.
The soap opera otherwise known as recruiting season reaches its apex seven days from today, on National Signing Day. Schools across the nation will find out for sure which kids are officially serious about their commitments, and undecided high school seniors will reach their final conclusion.
It’s been a long, strange trip for those following Auburn’s class of 2013. Once safely tucked inside many recruiting web site’s top-ten rankings, the dismissal of Gene Chizik on Nov. 25 sent top pledges Reuben Foster, Dee Liner, Trey Johnson and more scurrying to research other options.
For the most part, head coach Gus Malzahn has accomplished two goals on the recruiting front.
One, he has convinced some highly-rated players to stick with Auburn – guys like quarterback Jeremy Johnson and wide receiver Jason Smith – while attracting other top talent like junior college tailback Cameron Artis-Payne and receiver Tony Stevens.
And two, he has filled up at the ‘need’ positions based on Auburn’s roster; multiple receiver and defensive back options are expected to sign Wednesday, while there won’t be a ridiculous influx on either line or at running back, where the Tigers already are stocked with young up-and-comers on the roster.
When Malzahn was Auburn’s offensive coordinator, the Tigers had a penchant for using ‘rental’ players from the junior college ranks – that Cam Newton worked out pretty well. Malzahn has already signed three jucos (including Artis-Payne) and drawn verbal commitments from three more.
The job is not yet through. Four-star defensive ends Carl Lawson and Tashawn Bower are still unsure they’ll follow through to Auburn, while the Tigers continue to pursue Foster, defensive tackle Montravius Adams, cornerback Mackensie Alexander and others.
ESPNU will be broadcasting updates all day Feb. 6, with a reporter stationed at Auburn. Be sure to check the Ledger-Enquirer web site and WarEagleExtra.com for the latest next Wednesday.