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Krootin’ 4/9

Mmmmmmm, that's good quarterback.

It’s deja vu all over again on the Auburn krootin’ front.

Well, maybe not entirely. Last year the nationally-sought after recruits who visited Auburn and came away raving tended to be running backs and wide receivers, and this year it’s quarterbacks and all kinds of other athletes.

But that’s about it. Last year it’s Lache Seastrunk, Trovon Reed, etc., this year it’s Christian Lemay, the North Carolina quarterback with offers from the entire “Big Six” in the SEC and Notre Dame, Florida St., and Clemson besides. Lemay was on-campus this week and had this to say:

“I am pretty much in the boat with everybody else about having good things to say,” LeMay said. “They greeted us as soon as we stepped out of the car. They just did a great job of making us feel comfortable with the environment there. I got the chance to be introduced to every coach, both on offense and defense. It was good to meet the defensive coaches, too, because they are going to be people that I spend a lot of time with as well as the offensive coaches.”

LeMay also got the chance to sit down and talk with Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and watch his offense in action during practice.

“It’s a fast-paced offense,” LeMay said. “I had trouble keeping up with all of the plays that they were running in practice. [Malzahn] did a great job of showing me how I would fit into their plans. They signed a good offensive line class (in the Class of 2010) and I hope they repeat their effort this year.”

Also this:

“By the time I blinked they were running another play,” LeMay said. “I like the fact they emphasize the offensive side of the ball a lot but they were also very hard on the defense. That’s good because you have to watch the defense to see how many times you’re going to get the ball.

“I like the fact that they’re very balanced in their attack with offense, defense and the run-pass game. The run game is a quarterback’s best friend so that was very helpful to see.”

And so Auburn has landed a spot in Lemay’s forthcoming “top five” along with Georgia and Clemson.

Admittedly, Lemay doesn’t appear to be as blown away as, say, Michael Dyer was last summer, or even as impressed as teammate Kris Frost was a few days prior. All Lemay’s comments really mean is that Auburn has their hat in the ring for another major prospect.

But that’s newsworthy in and of itself: that despite expectations from some corners to the contrary, Chizik and Co. are still getting those hats into the high-profile rings of players like Lemay and Frost. Not every hat is going to wind up on the recruits’ heads at their announcement press conference, sure … but the start to the 2011 recruiting cycle is similar enough to the start of the 2010 version that it seems safe to assume enough will for another stellar class. Maybe not top-5 stellar again, but stellar enough to continue to keep pace with the current upper crust of the SEC? Oh yeah.

Wright. Second verse, same as the first with offer-deluged Columbus DT Gabe Wright … or at least, for his Mom, Viola:

“I’m not going to lie,” Wright said. “She never really liked a lot of Alabama schools.”

Asked what she thought of Auburn after touring the campus and meeting with Auburn coaches, Wright let out a laugh.

“She committed,” he said. “She’s going to be here in the summer … It was kind of like they were recruiting her. That’s what I look for. People don’t realize that, if you come at me, I can say everything you want me to say. But that’s the head lady in charge.”

Wright, who’s visited Auburn unofficially plenty of times, still had a few good things to say about Auburn on his own behalf (including his assessment that with Auburn’s depth chart, he could find his way onto the field as a freshman … which, at DT, he’s probably not wrong about). ‘Bama’s unfortunately a major player here from what I understand, but Wright will be back for Big Cat Weekend and again: Auburn’s hat is in the ring. For a recruit of this caliber, that’s all you can ask.

McClain. Round out the third of the trio of highly sought-after midweek visitors was North Carolina tight end (but Knoxville native) Eric MacClain. Encouraging quotes GO:

“Every coaches’ office I went into they had pictures of their family,” he said. “They said it’s pretty much like a daycare here any time during the day. That’s just a good feeling. That’s the kind of place you want to be for four years of your life” …

“I like how the tight ends are used as a tight end, receiver and fullback. You get all the opportunities as an athlete to better yourself here. I like that” …

“Right now, it’s really close (between Tennessee and Auburn),” MacLain said. “It’s borderline tie. The family orientation they have here (at Auburn) is incredible.”

MacLain was committed to Tennessee for two years, through both the Fulmer and Kiffin regimes, and still cites the Vols as his leader … but he also cites as his reason for re-opening his recruitment “the lack of communication we had with that third staff.” That does not sound like the quote of a kid who thinks very highly of “that third staff,” does it? Fingers crossed.

Commitwatch? Always-reliable Internet scuttlebutt is that Leeds corner Jonathan Rose could be the next Auburn recruit to commit and hey, whaddaya know, he’s visiting this weekend. It still might be a little early, but it’s something worth following the wire for regardless.

Whoa. This Phillip Marshall-penned recap of Auburn’s family-oriented recruiting efforts for ESPN doesn’t offer much in the way of new information for Auburn fans, but this is still a heck of a quote from Florida running back Demetrius Hart:

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Hart said. “The family thing, a lot of places say it. But just to have kids running around speaks for itself. Little kids run up to you and say, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ Then they go to their dads and say ‘I love you.’ That means a lot to some people who don’t have the opportunity to tell their dad they love him. That says a lot.”

On paper, from this cushy distance, it’s almost over-the-top. But it’s sure as hell not over-the-top for Demetrius Hart, and that’s what matters.

(Also interesting: that Taylor says he never really encountered Auburn much on the recruiting trail for Tennessee. Wha?)

Etc. Sweet Water’s Chris Landrum had a busy week: he visited Alabama and got an offer from Tennessee. Landrum said recently that Auburn’s taken over as his leader, but I’m guessing there’s a long way to go here … Weirdly, Auburn and Michigan are battling each other for several recruits, as this run-down of Michigan’s spring game visitors makes clear. Hart will be in Ann Arbor with his mother; Frost had originally planned on being there as well but had to cancel when plane tickets were too expensive, meaning he’ll be on the Plains instead (score!); Kiehl Frazier is also expressing some strong Michigan interest … And speaking of Frazier, this is a nice encapsulation of the four quarterbacks Auburn’s pursuing in this class.

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