Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Recruiters Report Card...

Much has been said about Auburn's top 5 recruiting class in 2010. The Tigers had a top 5 class almost unanimously by all of the "experts" and the players have been dissected. We’ve looked at their weight, their height, their speed and everything in between. Now it’s time to look at the guys who all of those big time players decided to play for. None of those highly touted players would be coming to Auburn if it weren’t for the guys out there selling Auburn on a daily basis.

Among the names of Orgeron, Garner, Harbison, Muschamp, and Thompson are recruiters at Auburn University that can go toe to toe with any of these guys. Rivals named two of Auburn’s assistants as top 25 recruiters. It’s a nice honor, but that’s just the tip of the ice-berg. The Auburn coaching staff, from top to bottom is as good of a group of recruiters as there is in the country. Curtis Luper, Trooper Taylor, Tommy Thigpen and Gus Malzahn have grabbed the headlines and credit for bringing in some of the top players Auburn got and they deserve it. However, the job that was done by Jeff Grimes, Tracy Rocker and Phillip Lolley shouldn’t be overlooked. Neither should Gene Chizik. Chizik has done a phenomenal job recruiting in his own right. But what the Auburn staff have done as that’s different, is change the atmosphere. They have completely changed the feel of the athletic department. There’s a new energy. There’s a new sense that everybody is pulling in the same direction. They’ve changed the culture at AU.

I'm going to pretend I'm qualified and give the coaching staff a Recruiting Report Card, from the Mayor....

Gene Chizik: Oversaw all of the players signed. Lost a few, but got most of the ones he wanted. Has completely changed the culture at Auburn and now AU is recruiting nationally for the first time, maybe in history. Auburn has gotten players through the years from far off states yes, but never on this scale. Not only that, but top to bottom you could argue that this is the most talented and highly rated class in Auburn history. Grade = A+

Trooper Taylor: Oversaw all of the WR's he brought in, plus Shon Coleman, Corey Lemonier, Demetruce McNeal and Joel Bonomolo. Is also pure energy. Highschool players want to play for this guy and he is a recruiting dynamo. Grade = A+

Curtis Luper: (Recruiting Coordinator) Got the #1 RB in the country according to ESPN. Also got the #1 Juco QB in Cam Newton. On top of that he had a big hand in the recruitment of Ed Christian, Trovon Reed and several others. Grade = A+

Tommy Thigpen: Thigpen has found himself as kind of the glue that makes it all stick. He's responsible for having a hand in so many players commitments. He seems to be a guy that likes to try and sell Auburn to anybody who will listen. Among the players he's been given credit for having a hand in are Jake Holland, Chris Davis, Ladarius Owens, Jeremy Richardson, Jonathan Mincy, Chad Slade and others. Grade = A+

Gus Malzahn: Gus is credited with having a hand in bringing in Michael Dyer, Dakota Mosley, Brandon Mosley, Cameron Newton and Ladarius Phillips. His recruitment went further than that though. He sat down with each and every offensive recruit and showed them specifically how they could prosper in his offense. He was instramental in getting Dyer to Auburn which is arguably the biggest signee AU got. He did a phenomenal job and deserves tons of credit. Grade = A+

Ted Roof: Roof did his part as well this year. He helped secure two big time line-backer commits in Jessel Curry and Jawara White. Like Malzahn though, his recruiting went further than that. He sat down and recruited every player AU signed on defense and showed them how they could succeed in what he was trying to do. If he would have been on the road more and responsible for more players, his grade would be higher. Grade = B+

Jeff Grimes: When AU hired Grimes I knew he was a good OL coach, but I had no idea how good of a recruiter he is. He's a fun guy to be around and is great at teaching fundamentals. That's two big selling points for him and he racked up this year. He had a hand in bringing in all of the OL of course, but he also recruited Kenneth carter, Craig Sanders and Jawara White. If you take into account these three guys, plus the #1 OL signing class in America according to Rivals, I don't see how you can't give the guy an...Grade = A+

Jay Boulware: Boulware is Auburn's special teams coordinator and he couldn't have done a better job this year in recruiting his special teams players. Cody Parkey and Steven Clark were the top two kickers on Auburn's board. They were the guys they wanted. Boulware went out and got them both. On top of that, he had a hand in getting Eric Mack to Auburn which was no small feat. Grade = A

Tracy Rocker: All you hear when kids talk about Coach Rocker is how he tells them like it is. He gives them the good and the bad and doesn't sugarcoat anything and they appreciate it. He's also been to the mountain-top as a player and other players respect that. He had a hand in getting the #1 defensive lineman on Auburn's board Jeffery Whitaker, but also was a big help in getting several others to AU. Those include Kenneth Carter, Antonio Goodwin, Shaun Kitchens, Demetruce McNeal and Corey Lemonier. If he hadn't missed out on a couple AU tried to get at the end, his grade would have been perfect.
Grade = A

Phillip Lolley: Lolley was all over the country recruiting for AU. He had a hand in bringing home Joel Bonomolo, Chris Davis, Ryan White, Jonathan Mincy, Justin Delaine, Ladarius Phillips and Demetruce McNeal. He did a really good job and if he would have had a hand in bringing in more of AU's top flight players, his grade would be higher. Grade = B

So you say, "Mayor...that's some pretty high grades. Looking through orange and blue glasses much?" I was in the business world for a long time. More specifically, an office setting where I was a manager. I cannot understate the difficulty managers, coaches or leaders of any kind have in trying to change the culture of a bad situation. What Gene Chizik and his staff have done is nothing short of miraculous and they've changed the entire culture at Auburn in less than two years. That's the reason these guys deserve such high grades in my opinion. It's the big picture....And they are doing everything in their power to take Auburn to the top.

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