Merry Pervy Christmas, Auburn fans! This is the post: between now and the end of the day, this is where you’ll come for every update, all the official TWER reactions, breakdowns, and breaking newsbits.
Also, immediately below: our Signing Day liveblog. It’s done, but you can reread it if you like. The ground rules:
1. Whatever happens today, it’s a great, great day for Auburn. The positives of the LOIs that do come into Auburn’s fax machine will outweigh the negatives of the ones that don’t by a factor of kajillion.
2. Unless a recruit takes the hat dance to a new level by publicly urinating on an Auburn cap, the bad-mouthing of 17-year-old kids is strictly prohibited.
3. As always: any recruit that does not choose Alabama is one that Alabama didn’t want to sign anyway.
Let’s do this.
“As the commitments were built behind the scenes, they stayed in touch with each other. There was really an uncommon bond, really different from what I’ve ever seen. It seems like they’ve already been playing together for a year.”
What Auburn sold this recruiting cycle wasn’t just Auburn or playing time or the coaches–it really was atmosphere, belonging, and at the risk of sounding a little too in the tank for our head coach … family. It helps explain why Auburn suffered so few decommitments; a recruit didn’t just have to leave behind the coaches, he had to leave behind the other commitments he’d grown to know and enjoy. Think about the picture taken at the Under Armour bowl with Dyer, Mosley, Goodwin, and Mack: even though Mack later disavowed his decision to pose for that picture, it made it clear that a) Auburn had something b) Mack wanted to be a part of it.
This is why I’m not worried about this success being a one-year phenomenon. It won’t surprise me if maybe this is the high point, if Auburn’s class next year and the year after aren’t quite as highly regarded. But as long as Chizik and Co. can keep offering this kind of atmosphere, the kinds of failures that marked the final few years of Tubby’s tenure are well behind us. It’s a hell of beginning, today, but it’s only the beginning.
This is all for today from WBE–read the liveblog if you really need the content–but I’ll be back tomorrow with all kinds of Signing Day stuff. See you then.
UPDATE 1:15 p.m.: Reed has signed after a curious delay, giving Auburn their 5th top-55 Rivals player. Reed was the kind of player Auburn didn’t really have elsewhere in the class, that elite slot receiver who could line up just about anywhere and scare the pants off of whoever’s lined up across from him. Caps a massive day.
Joel Bonomolo’s LOI is also in, meaning Auburn has finished this recruiting cycle with one–ONE–decommitment, and that from a kid who by a lot of accounts tried to re-commit anyway. Unbelievable. Auburn’s coaches swore they’d build relationships with their recruits, and that’s what they’ve done–the kind of relationships where recruits just have a hard time telling Auburn no. Phenomenal.
UPDATE 11:58 a.m.: Corey Lemonier signs with Auburn, icing the nation’s No. 3 or 4 class with Trovon Reed and Joel Bonomolo the only holdouts. Lemonier is Auburn’s 4th top-60 (Rivals) signee of the day, with Reed a possible 5th.
Massive week for Tracy Rocker and the Auburn DL–Whitaker and Lemonier are an incredible DT-DE pairing, with Rocker cited as a principal reason for both’s commitment. One more high-profile DT might have been nice, but Auburn’s d-line should be good to go for years regardless.
NOLA.com reporting Reed to sign with Auburn … any second now.
UPDATE: 11:15 a.m.: Jake Holland, Ryan White, and Chad Slade are on board. Holland you should know about by now–possibly the most polished LB in Auburn’s class. White I’m excited about–coaches took him over several more highly-ranked CB prospects.
Lemonier to announce in 15 minutes and though Florida St. has been on a tear today, many, many signs pointing towards Auburn right this second. Would be Auburn’s second huge win of the day after Shon Coleman.
UPDATE 10:25 a.m.: The first of Auburn’s major targets today has gone elsewhere: Byran Jones signs with Arkansas. Not a surprise after Phillips signed with Auburn this morning, but still a bit of a disappointment. On the positive side: LaDarius Owens has signed. Owens is going to be Ted Roof’s pet monster in the coming years … if he’s not Rocker’s monster at DE.
HOT RUMORS at the moment: Auburn might get Calvin Smith as a package with Corey Lemonier; on the downside, Trovon Reed is seriously considering LSU and may not sign today. YAY to the first, BLEAH to the second.
UPDATE 9:39 a.m.: Auburn’s sleeper commits are in: Linden DE Justin Delaine and Woodlawn ATH Chris Davis. Both have immense physical skills that weren’t recognized early on thanks to their inability to make camps or, you know, play for schools that aren’t metro B’ham or west Alabama. Here’s to betting one or both make a big impact in their time at Auburn.
UPDATE 9:26 a.m.: Dyer and Mosley are in, Dyer giving Auburn 3 (3!) Rivals 5-star recruits. Also in: Shaun Kitchens.
UPDATE 8:52 a.m. White and Whitaker sign along with three-star ATH Ryan Smith of Cordova, a Kentucky commit since October. Smith will almost certainly play safety at Auburn and it’s a damn good bet he got his offer when the coaches decided they weren’t going to bother with D.J. Howard. Good news: AU needed another safety in the class somewhere, even though I think McNeal is probably underrated.
UPDATE 8:42 a.m.: Per Jay Tate, Shon Coleman has signed. Massive signing for Auburn; Alabama really put the full-court press on by all accounts. Count this as a head-to-head win for Chizik, even if ‘Bama got into the game very, very late. Also in: Mincy, McNeal, Kitchens.
UPDATE 8:34 a.m.: There had been some chatter Auburn could flip Corey Grant, but I don’t think there was ever any legs to it. His LOI has gone to T-town.
UPDATE 8:17 a.m.: Commitments in: Parkey, Goodwin, Carter, Clark, Richardson, Mack, and Christian.
We’ve also got our first Mystery Recruit signee of the day: Handley High two-star Ladarius Phillips is in the fold. Phillips is a FB/DT who made 4A All-State at defensive tackle and was apparently headed to Georgia Southern before getting an Auburn offer. I have to think he’s bound for DT at Auburn, and I also have to admit that this makes Byran Jones’s signing look a little less likely.
CALL FOR HELP: OK, so I’m on DSL out here in the frozen wastelands of northern Arizona, and after the hoops liveblog experience the other night and my Internet connection acting a bit slower than usual today, I’m a little worried about handling the flow of comments during the liveblog tomorrow. John and J.M. will be around to help out from time to time, but if there’s any regulars out there who’d like to just click a little button from time to time to help the liveblog run smoothly, leave a comment indicating so with your e-mail in the little e-mail part of the comment form. Thanks.
UPDATE 6:57 p.m.: Two quickie links for you: 1. Garnet and Black Attack is glad SC kept Lattimore away from “powerhouses” like Auburn, Oregon, and Penn St., and let it not be said that we can’t take a compliment 2. Jeremy Richardson is officially a grades risk, and a big one. Here’s hoping that after all the pain he’s endured, he gets some good news over the summer.
UPDATE 4:10 p.m.: As I think an awful lot of people expected by the time the announcement rolled around, Marcus Lattimore will sign with South Carolina. Instant reax:
1. Good for him. Seriously. We’re not in the business of knocking any 17-year-old kid for his decisions, but choosing to stay close to home with family and friends and making the attempt to help pull your hometown team to the next level–as opposed to joining a team that’s already there–is a choice I can particularly get behind. Best of luck to him.
2. Having Stephen Davis bring out your ‘Cock hat, though? Hoooooo boy, bold decision there. Stephen, how could you? (Note: I’m not actually hurt.)
3. This hurts Auburn a little more than I think the section of fans who are thinking “Who cares, we’ve got Dyer” might, uh, think. Yes, we’ve got Dyer, but it appeared for all the world that part (not all, but part) of Chizik and Co.’s decision to stop recruiting Lache Seastrunk was based on their confidence with Lattimore. Now Auburn’s got neither Seastrunk nor Lattimore nor D.J. Howard, leaving Dyer as the only running back in the class (unless there’s a surprise tomorrow). Auburn’s really not so deep at RB that I can imagine the coaches will be happy with Dyer carrying the ’10 weight alone.
But that said … 2011’s probably the only season where the lack of backs in this class might hurt. This fall there’s Fannin, Aycock, Smith, Dyer, and McCalebb, and that should be plenty; but Fannin’s really the only one of those guys who we absolutely know can tote the rock as the primary back over the course of a whole season. The odds are high that one of the other candidates will prove himself between now and ’11 … but what if Smith gets canned? If Aycock’s not up to it? If Dyer hurts himself–he did have a lot of carries in high school–or just isn’t that good? (It happens.) If the true freshmen aren’t ready? All four of those scenarios not panning out is awfully unlikely, but with Lattimore, there would have basically been no way Auburn would go into ’11 without a great feature back. Now there’s a little tiny bit of worry.
After ’11, though? This staff will find someone else. If there’s any place where they’ve proven they’ll be able to recruit top-notch talent going forward, it’s the skill positions. There’s some worry, yeah, but only for ’11 and even there, not much.
4:45 p.m.: As expected, the Tide have picked up lineman Arie Kouandjio. Some talk he might bite on USC; didn’t happen.
5:14 p.m.: Andrew Gribble provides some Lattimore quotes on his decision. Confirms he was an Auburn lean until late in the process. That Auburn was even that close to pulling both of the top 2 RBs in the nation two years after the ’08 disaster is still pretty staggering.