After the shared bad-trip flashback to 2008 Auburn fans got Saturday night, we needed some good news Sunday, and boy howdy did we get it: Valdosta offensive lineman Ed Christian committed to sign with Auburn after recently decommitting from the–ahem–direction-troubled program at Florida St.
Christian’s commitment is a massive one for Auburn’s 2010 class, easily one of the half-dozen most critical ones to date, for two reasons:
1. He’s good.There’s not much disagreement on this point from the gurus. A member of the AJC‘s “Super 11” in the state of Georgia, Christian is a four-star, top-30 tackle to Rivals, a three-star but top-20 guard to Scout, and ESPN is highest on Christian of all, giving him a solidly four-star grade of 80 and raving:
Christian is an athletic offensive lineman that could line up at either guard or tackle. He has good size and toughness along with long arms and good height. Very athletic with foot quickness and agility. Really excels as an edge blocker. Takes proper footwork when reach and zone blocking; gets great position and uses his hands to control the defensive end or outside linebacker. Runs his legs well after gaining control of the edge defender and works to sustain and finish the block … He needs to gain a little more lower body strength and continue to work on knee bending but has exceptional raw talent.
So, a physically gifted prospect with a particular skill at blocking in open spaces and along the edge? Yes, I believe Auburn’s current offense could use someone like that.
2. Auburn needs him. I’ve made this point once before, but just to recap, in 2011 Auburn is going to be looking at an offensive line two-deep chosen entirely from a pool of A.J. Greene, Jared Cooper, Vance Smith, Andre Harris, John Sullen, the 2011 true freshmen, and whichever linemen Auburn signs in this 2010 class*.
It’s no crime to switch from another position, to come out of high school lightly regarded by the gurus, or to be a true freshman … but you also can’t say it won’t be nice to have alternatives that don’t fit any of those three categories. Which is why Auburn so badly needs not just linemen in bulk (and with bulk) this class, but quality linemen. Shon Coleman was a great start (assuming that Auburn hangs onto him), but Christian means that Auburn now has the foundations of building a legitimately special class along the o-line if they can add another couple of solid prospects between now and Signing Day.
So what are the odds of that? Not bad, if you ask me. In earning a commitment from Christian, Auburn’s staff has shown once again how much of an impact they can make on a recruit in a short period of time:
Christian credited Auburn assistant coach Curtis Luper for reigniting his interest in Auburn. He said Luper called him out of the blue last month.
“I wanted to experience another college,” Christian told Auburn.Scout.com. “I gave them that chance and it was my overall best visit to a school. This school (Auburn) treats you the best. . . .This commitment is more personal than the one at FSU. It’s more personal. Their approach is way different.”
We saw this in action last spring when Chizik and Co. took a total salvage job in the wake of the coaching turnover and turned it into a class chockful of both quality sleepers and headline talents. It should once again be a fun sprint to the finish line.
Just FYI. Another Christian quote for the road:
“Overall, the visit was great. I loved the environment. I loved the game. I had a lot of one-on-one time with the players and I like the players. The coaches get you on a one-on-one level, and I liked that. They are very calm. I see myself being an Auburn Tiger.”
Photo via the AJC.