By Jonathan Heeter, Macon Telegraph
VIENNA, Ga. — Recruiting often comes down to the relationship between prospect and recruiter.
When Montravius Adams announced his college choice on ESPNU on Wednesday morning, the 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle did so with the connection with one coach on his mind.
Adams picked Auburn because of the bond he forged with new Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who formerly served as the recruiting coordinator at Georgia. Had Garner stayed at Georgia, Adams might have kept on the red sweater he wore to his National Signing Day ceremony at the Dooly County gym. Instead, he popped on an Auburn hat and took off the pullover to reveal a T-shirt airbrushed with Auburn and Tigers around a photo of him wearing an Auburn No. 1 jersey while doing the “Superman” celebration of former Tigers quarterback Cam Newton.
“You want to go to a place where you are comfortable,” said Adams, who picked the Tigers over Alabama, Clemson, Florida and Georgia. “I have a good relationship with Coach Garner, and that was a big part of it.”
Adams had all but scratched Auburn off his list a few weeks ago, and a battle between Clemson and Georgia appeared to be shaping up. But Garner’s departure from Georgia to return to his alma mater shook up Adams’ recruitment.
Adams largely has avoided the attention-grabbing stunts many of the elite prospects display lead up to signing day — he doesn’t even have a Twitter account — so his turn to Auburn stayed pretty quiet.
Auburn landed Adams’ final official visit, and Garner pounded the pavement in Vienna last week to further lock up their relationship. Adams, who is listed as one of the top 30 prospects in America by all four major recruiting services, met with Garner for a short time Jan. 31 in between the assistant coach’s trips across town to woo Adams’ family members.
Adams said he loved the weekend trip and had a good idea he was headed to Auburn, but he made his final decision Monday.
“Comfortable is the key word,” Dooly County head coach Jimmy Hughes said. “He likes Coach Garner. He feels comfortable with him, and he felt comfortable with Auburn.”
A video posted to YouTube by the Auburn athletics department shows the coaching staff celebrating loudly after Adams made his commitment on television. Every coach in the room high-fived Garner, who could be heard saying, “Gimmie some, gimmie some,” on the video.
Adams was just a piece of Auburn’s signing day haul. Milton defensive end Carl Lawson, who is considered one of the top 25 recruits in the nation, re-affirmed his commitment during the weekend, and the Tigers added a pair of top running backs — Johnathan Ford and Peyton Barber. Rivals eighth-ranked defensive end, Elijah Daniel from Avon, Ind., switched from Mississippi to Auburn on Wednesday.