A mostly-random assortment of links, thoughts, and facts to wrap up the WBE Signing Day coverage:
— As if to confirm for all of us that one Signing Day is only one brief rest stop on the way to the next one, Auburn grabbed their first commitment of 2011 today: Izauea Lanier, the ’09 athlete/DB out of Gordo who spent his single season at East Mississippi C.C. (and first as a full-time defensive back) fruitfully, racking up 66 tackles, four picks, and nine pass breakups. He’ll redshirt this fall and enroll in Auburn next January with three full years of eligibility remaining. For more info, ye olde JCCW Google survey of Lanier is available here.
Lanier’s recommitment is welcome news for two reasons:
1. We need safeties in next year’s class; Lanier is a safety.
2. For Chizik and Co. to take his commitment this quickly means he must have been as solid at EMCC as his numbers suggest, and that means they (once again) knew what they were doing when they offered a small-town, under-the-radar prospect. Yay track record!
— Some fun facts from the Rivals 100/250 lists: Auburn signed five players (Dyer, Coleman, Lemonier, Reed, Whitaker) that ranked higher than any player from the ’08 or ’09 classes and higher than any player who made it to campus (i.e. not Enrique Davis) since Ben Tate (No. 41 overall) in 2006; those five top 100 players represent one more recruit than Auburn signed out of the top 100 the previous three classes combined (4; Davis, Ziemba, McNeil, Rollison); Auburn signed more than twice as many members of the Rivals 250 (8) than in the last two classes combined (3, all of them in ’09).
And lest you think none of that matters, a comprehensive list of Auburn’s qualifying top 100/250 players from 2002-2008 (bearing in mind the list only expanded to 250 in ’06): B. Obomanu, M. Pitts, D. Aromashodu, L. Hart, T. Blackmon, B. Tate, T. Hawthorne, M. Berry, N. Caudle, B. Eddins, M. Fannin, M. Goggans, J. Ricks, C. Stevens, T. Zachery, K. Burns, J. Bynes, M. McNeil, R. Pugh, C. Ramsey, B. Woods, L. Ziemba. There’s a couple of straight busts in there, but there’s also six or seven likely NFL players, 3/5ths (and should be 4/5ths) of the current starting offensive line, our current two best linebackers, etc. Of those 22 players, 17 have at least gone on to become regular Auburn starters.
— So much for depth problems along the offensive line: Auburn signed eight players likely ticketed for the OL, garnering a citation from ESPN for the best offensive line class in the country despite the fact a) they’re not that high on Shon Coleman, who they give only three stars b) they’re counting Dakota Mosley as a tight end.
Having 33 slots to work with helps, but still, no one will accuse Auburn of neglecting their needs this go-round; in addition to carpet-bombing the offensive line, they signed four LBs and (as commenter Mooncricket pointed out in the liveblog yesterday) at least one player for every position on the field, including kicker and punter. Just for kicks, in two years I’d love to see Auburn line up against their I-AA patsy with an all-2010 lineup. Like so:
Offense — QB: Newton RB: Dyer H-back: Curry WRs: Reed, Goodwin, Kitchens OL: Coleman, Mack, B. Mosley, Christian, Gayden
Defense — DL: Sanders, Whitaker, Carter, Lemonier LBs: Owens, Holland, White DBs: Mincy, McNeal, Smith, White
Special teams — PK: Parkey P: Clark PR/KR: Davis
And of course there’s another 7 guys who I can’t fit, many of whom (like D. Mosley) could play, oh, three different positions. Quantity, quality, versatility … it’s all there. Good times.
— Speaking of the liveblog, we had fun with a running gag in which Trovon Reed’s high school coach severed phone lines and forged LOIs and smashed the fax machine and had a chest-bump-off with Trooper Taylor for Reed’s rights* … but maybe it wasn’t much of a laughing matter. The usually reserved Phillip Marshall on the situation:
You have to hand it to wide receiver Trovon Reed. Despite intense pressure from people who wanted him to do what made them feel good, he did what he wanted …
The intimation by Thibodaux coach Dennis Lorio that Auburn coaches used Reed’s mother’s death to their advantage was disgusting, even more disgusting than his relentless efforts to convince his star player he didn’t really want what he wanted.
Damn, P-Marsh. Next time I pass a wishing well, I’m hoping that in the fall of ’11 Reed and Deangelo Benton combine to score 12 touchdowns in Death Valley.
— The great irony of the team rankings results is that after years of Auburn fans crying “conspiracy!” and favoring the Scout rankings and years of Alabama fans crying “accuracy!” and favoring Rivals, now that this happened and this happened, both sides are quickly reversing field. (Both sides, of course, should recognize that both classes are outstanding and that trying to split hairs between them is for dumb-dumbs.)
Of note for Auburn fans, though, is that the service most genuinely impressed with Auburn’s class is ESPN, which placed Auburn fourth despite not taking the Tigers’ four JUCO signees into account at all. The WWL didn’t like Coleman, Whitaker, or Sanders as much as the traditional services but was much higher on Goodwin, Mack, Kitchens, and White and was the only service to name Dyer the nation’s No. 1 RB.
So, you know, good for them.
— If you haven’t read Kenny Smith’s open letter to the class yet, please do so now.
— Time to exhale, folks, finally. Good.
Now: when’s spring practice?
*Thanks to commenter John for most of these.