Monday, June 1, 2009

Innovative Recruiting

Auburn recruiting has taken a huge step forward with the arrival of Head Coach Gene Chizik. In his short stint as Head Coach, I have seen Auburn go after more high profile recruits (as rated by Rivals.com) than I have seen at any previous time in my lifetime following Auburn. A lot of the credit should go to this fine staff of recruiters that Coach Chizik has hired, because they are indeed some of the best in the nation. These coaches have already found new and exciting ways to reach out to recruits such as the Tiger Prowl, Big Cat Weekend and the planned un-named event to be held later in the summer and I would imagine that this type of outside of the box thinking will continue to be present from signing day to signing day.

The Auburn staff got the in-state recruiting off with a bang when they introduced the “Tiger Prowl”, an event in which they took a stretch limo that was filled full of assistant coaches visiting different high schools across the state of Alabama. The Tiger Prowl caught media attention locally and nationally, heck, it even drew the ire of Coach Urban Meyer when he incorrectly thought that Auburn had offered potential prospects rides in the limo. I know that this tactic was received with mixed emotion among some Auburn fans, but if the kids love it, then I love it. I thought it was a great way for the staff to travel around the state introducing itself and being very visible in doing so. Recruiting is all about relationships and with that being said, it was a great idea on Auburn’s part to have a staff of coaches travel together around the state and spark those relationships among the kids and high school coaches. I believe Auburn is at its best when the roster is filled with Alabama and Georgia kids. I know, at least from my days with the team, that if a player is from a certain state and Auburn plays a team from that state, the player seemed to be more motivated to win that game. With that being said, Auburn needs to win its share of the in-state talent and the Tiger Prowl was a great beginning to building these needed relationships.

This past weekend, the Auburn coaches held their first Annual “Big Cat Weekend” and by all accounts, it seems to have been a smashing success among those who attended. I am not going to bore you with the details of who attended, because there are plenty of good sites out there that specialize in that, such as auburnsports.com and auburnundercover.com, but this weekend involved Auburn bringing in a big group of highly rated high school seniors to get a feel for Auburn, the coaches, current players and an opportunity to do so in a relaxed environment. The most impressive thing about this weekend is that the Auburn coaches were able to get these kids and their parents to pay their own way to Auburn and back including all their living expenses, especially with some of these kids coming from as far away as Texas and Connecticut. I cannot think of a weekend like this, in which a school has hosted this many unofficial visitors in the middle of summer and it not be a football camp, and to also have them all be big time recruits is icing on the cake. For me, this seems to be one of the best idea’s out of Auburn in a long time and I look forward to seeing what dividends pay off due to this weekend.

Coach Chizik has made one thing clear when it comes to recruiting and it is that Auburn is going to go after the best players and not be intimidated by others from doing so. It is very evident that Coach Tuberville had backed down from this type of a challenge, choosing to not put the effort in recruiting players that he thought Auburn could not attain, but if you never try, then you never know. This approach to recruiting is very refreshing and a big deviation from the Auburn Football Camp mentality of recruiting where Auburn used to try and get players to their camps and then offer them based on what they saw in the camp. Auburn may be lacking in talent right now when you look at the roster, especially once you get past the starters, but it will not take long for Auburn to build up a good team of depth and talent with this type of recruiting. I love the direction that our program is headed and I really believe the coaches are creating the base of a solid foundation for years to come. There will definitely be bumps along the road, but I don’t believe Auburn will get knocked off its path, especially if the Auburn coaches are able to continue the momentum that has been generated these last few months. I am personally looking forward to what the Auburn coaches have planned for later this summer, and before long, we will get to see these same coaches on the field in action.

Please drop me a line and share your thoughts in the comment section about how you feel about Auburn Recruiting and anything else. Thanks for your time and keep checking back. War Eagle!

16 comments:

Michael said...

Yeah, too bad about those possible secondary recruitment violations. I was wondering all weekend if we may have been violating some rules, and sure enough, yep, we may have been. All for aggressive recruiting and I could be wrong, but I don't remember any secondary violations under Tubs.

As for the roster layout, I too want mostly Bama and Georgia players, but me and Coach Koonz had this conversation before the 2002 Iron Bowl. Coming off the heartbreaking loss, we wondered how much out players would be up for it, because it seemed like we had more players from Georgia than Alabama, while Bama's roster was stock full of Alabama boys.

We thought the advantage lay with them because of that, but instead we went out and whipped them for the first of six times in a row.

depressedAUfan said...

Eddie, I couldn't agree more. I was a Tuberville fan, but anyone being honest had to see the gradual decline in the program ending with last years disaster. I have seen more excitement in Auburns' recruiting since these coaches arrived then in the previous 2 years combined. I am curious to see who will be the best "closer" on the current staff. Who would you pick to close the deal with a top player if it could only be one of them?

§teve From Columbia said...

You hit on the exact reason that I know the Prowl and Big Cat Weekends were a success. The recruits made it clear they loved it, so it really doesn't matter if some didn't like either idea. The judges that mattered are the recruits.

I do disagree about this team not being talented. We have a lot of talent and have been consistently in the top 20 in recruiting, and often in the top 10. This is just a different approach, although I must admit it is more exciting.

Salsa Shark said...

The auburn football motto: "NFL or Minimum Wage."

Barn players who have graduated from there can't even read.

Better make it to the big league because if not, you're gonna be in the gutter and forgotten about.

Of course if a player makes it, he'll probably blow a knee.

Enjoy your sanctions and being dsignated as #1 in NCAA violations in the SEC. It's the only #1 Auburn will ever earn.

Salsa Shark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brother Jet said...

Michael,

It appears your vision for Auburn a cracked rear view mirror.

If we get a warning for doing 45 in a 40 zone, so be it.

wartiger said...

Great Blog Eddie..I am surprised at all the attention that this staff has been able to generate..I assumed Tubbs was doing something along these lines and we just didn't hear about it for some reason or another..I guess not. It'll be interesting to see how all this plays out..again..nice job..

Michael said...

Jet, I don't have a problem with secondary violations given the frequency with which they are handed out in the SEC these days, just did not expect it so early in Chizik's reign. In the end, it's not really a big issue and overall I am really excited about what he's done since he has taken over, with regard to everything, not just recruiting.

But it was disconcerting that a person like me, who really has no clue about the rules of recruiting, was pretty sure we might have been violating some of them this past weekend. But hey, I guess they know that now, and they'll learn and move on. I don't think this coaching staff is dirty or anything. Just would have hoped they used a bit more common sense, that's all.

Eddie said...

First all, they haven't been found guilty of any secondary violations at this point.

There appears to only be 2 questionable actions, the introduction of a recruit by a member of the athletic staff and holding a simulated post-game experience. Those two areas are very gray at best and if that's what is coming out of this weekend's activities, it means we are really getting to those covering and following bama. I love it and I would be willing to bet that they didn't just host this weekend without checking into what they can and cannot do.

§teve From Columbia said...

Eddie, from what i have read we are okay on both counts. From what I have read the person introducing the players wasn't staff. Also, the rolling of toomer's corner was apparently not planned by the staff. I think we are clear on both counts, but even if one of these was a violation it would basically be a whoopie. I am not sure why anyone would be concerned about it.

§teve From Columbia said...

By the way, Salsa's IQ appears to be falling fast.

Eddie said...

The fact that Salsa is posting on Auburn blog says alot.

Monica said...

Do I have to be nice?

wes said...

nice read Eddie. I agree with the balls to wall approach to recruiting and hope to see dividends. keep up the good work...

Eddie said...

Monica- Feel free to let the cat out of the bag here :)!

Thanks Wes.

Ed said...

Keep up the good posts. You keep me entertained. What's next? Yeah, how did a Bammer get on here anyway?