So: as of this morning, WBE is officially back in the saddle. Apologies for the absence last week, but I’m going to make it up to you: Hoops Report later today, and over the next couple of weeks the conclusion of the Auburn AUghts series, more coaches’ report cards, a heap of krootin’ (including the resumption of the “Google surveys …” series), all the usual good stuff. Thanks for bearing with me. It’ll be worth it.
As a quick catch-up, here’s some of the non-hoops stories that I missed since my last post:
Mack commits. That last missive got posted just as the Mack-decommits-from-SC news broke, and in it I gave Florida a fighting chance for Mack’s signature since, you know, they’re Florida. But as soon as word came from Mack that he’d be announcing at noon the next day–before ever having set foot on the Gator campus–the handwriting was on the wall in orange-and-blue.
And so sure enough, Auburn adds their seventh offensive line commitment, and their fifth to be ranked four stars or better by at least one of the three major services. Mack does a little bit better by the rankings than most of his counterparts in the class, though, nabbing four stars from all three and becoming the highest consensus-ranked recruit of the bunch. More importantly, Mack had serious offers from the likes of the Gators and virtually the entire Southeast. This appears to be a major win for Chizik and Co.
And in the bigger picture, this OL class is an even bigger win; in one fell recruiting swoop, Auburn’s 2011 depth problems are virtually erased. It doesn’t mean potentially replacing an entire offensive line will be easy, but at least Jeff Grimes–who deserves a heaping helping of credit for selling himself as the kind of coach players like Mack would want to play for–will have options and quality options to work with. As recently as last summer, it looked like Auburn would have to go with the spit-and-bailing-wire approach; that worry has long, long since passed.
Elsewhere … uh … maybe I picked the right week to go on vacation? There wasn’t much happening on the football front, was there? What is worth revisiting:
— Jay G. Tate’s working on what ought to be a terrific story on Cam Newton and has drool-inducing quotes from one opposing JUCO coach and some interesting commentary from Newton’s father on the recruiting process. Apparently Auburn has Papa Newton to thank for his son’s arrival on the Plains:
Cam was apprehensive. He was leaning toward Starkville. He had that relationship with Dan Mullen and there was a comfort level there. I didn’t think that was the right place for Cam. They just don’t have all the moving parts. Cam was going to have to be the star. He’d have to do everything himself. I didn’t want him to be a rented mule. Auburn has far more varsity players returning, they have more skill players, they’re attracting more highly recruited players and it’s right down the street.
Makes plenty of sense to me, especially given the terrorbeast that Auburn’s offense could become this fall with Newton (or whoever) at the helm, but if I was a State fan, yeah, I’d probably be a bit steamed.
— As for krootin’, the big news from this weekend was that Auburn survived one round of commitments and targets visiting elsewhere without too much fallout. At this point I’d guess D.J. Howard–who went to Clemson last weekend–is the biggest flight risk amongst Auburn’s commits, but you’ll recall that last year a whole gaggle of Tiger commitments took late visits to Miss. St., Tennessee, and elsewhere, and the only departure (Brandon Heavens) was one the coaching staff had essentially already approved themselves. I’m not worried. The much bigger question is if Chizik and Co. can seal the deal on Lattimore and if the school Jeffrey Whitaker and Corey Lemonier have each allegedly already decided on is Auburn.
— Tim Hawthorne will play receiver this fall for Terry Bowden at North Alabama. Something of a surprise since we figured Hawthorne, degree in hand, was done with the sport … but I guess we couldn’t expect Chizik and Co. to get along with everyone. Still wishing Hawthorne nothing but the best of luck, of course.
— Not a story, obviously, but boy did P-Marsh get his optimism on yesterday:
I look for Demond Washington to be an All-America caliber defensive back for Auburn next season.
All-America? And here I was thinking All-SEC would be awfully nice. Hope he’s right.
— Back with the Hoops Report later.