That Sweet Water linebacker Chris Landrum wound up committing to Auburn isn’t a huge shock; he’d had the Tigers as his leader for a little while, had always had glowing things to say about his visit to the Plains, and had never given the sense that he and Auburn’s only other serious suitor for his services–Alabama–were all that close.
All that said, the timing of Landrum’s announcement today still comes as wonderfully pleasant surprise. For Auburn to wrap up yet another rock-solid in-state recruit (and one with deep Tide ties at that) even before the big Big Cat-started summer push is damn, damn impressive. Landrum in a free Rivals article:
“There was something different about the coaches,” said Landrum. “There was something about them that caught my attention. All of the coaches are really friendly, easy people to get along with and great people to be around. Once I got to know them I knew I wanted to be there.”
It wasn’t about the depth chart for Landrum. He said although the Tigers are in need of linebackers, it didn’t have anything to do with his decision.
“It didn’t matter to me what positions they needed or who they have on the roster,” Landrum said. “It was more about me feeling comfortable there and being able to get a good education there.
“It was more about me wanting to attend Auburn and be a Tiger.”
Music to the burnt orange and navy blue ears. Landrum apparently wants it bad enough that he says he’s not taking any more visits; we’ll see if that’s actually how it plays out, but it’s still awfully nice to hear.
As for Landrum’s bona fides, he’s got ’em. Sweet Water may be 1A but they’re arguably the top 1A school in the state; they won four state titles in five years between 2004 and 2008, and Stacy Luker’s as sharp a coach as you’re going to find at that level (or just about any level, really). Landrum’s going to be much, much more polished than your typical small-school, west Alabama recruit. He also comes from a supremely athletic family; fellow Sweet Water graduates Anthony Landrum and Antonio Landrum were both multi-year first-team All-State performers and Michael Landrum–I think Chris’s uncle, but don’t quote me on that–was the first black quarterback at Alabama, in 1979. (When Landrum describes himself as “a die-hard Alabama fan” growing up, he’s probably not exaggerating.)
So, yeah, Auburn’s getting a well-coached, bright, high-character kid who’s got the prototypical athletic goods–6-2, 215, 947 yards’ worth of a running back’s speed and agility–for middle linebacker. It explains why the 2010 Tiger Prowl Limo Gambit went off the beaten path to Sweet Water. It explains why the coaches have been on him since just about Day 1. It explains why his offer sheet includes Alabama, Tennessee, and Duke (I mentioned he was bright, right?).
Like I said: it’s a very pleasant surprise for a TuesWednesday morning. A few other thoughts:
— Landrum’s commitment will likely set off yet another round of Alabama didn’t want him/Oh yes they did bickering in other sections of the state’s Interwebs, but as always, I can’t see that it matters. Landrum’s easily an SEC-caliber prospect either way.
— Jay Boulware probably comes in at about No. 6 or 7 in most fans’ rankings for “Auburn’s Best Recruiters,” but as Landrum’s lead recruiter getting a commitment this early is a big feather in his cap, and a handful of other recruits have recently said Boulware had made an impression with them. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but it’s not just Trooper and Luper getting it done on the Trail.
— Forgive the gushing, but I’m once again kind of thrilled with where Auburn’s recruiting is going. It’s not likely to be a second-straight top 5 class (though I also wouldn’t rule it out), but so far Chizik and Co. have snagged six commitments: two are All-American offensive linemen, two are solid in-state defenders the kind of which formed the backbone of Chizik’s D’s under Tubby, one is a monster sleeper at Auburn’s position of greatest need (and who’s now on the ESPN 150 Watch List), and one’s a JUCO recommit who’s likely to provide instant depth at another position of need. All of this, and we haven’t even gotten to BCWII yet.
Other krootin’ links: the Rivals free preview gives us some news on new offerees Nick Waisome and Tacoi Sumler; Tennessee is allegedly going to make an attempt at picking off Thomas O’Reilly, which, hey, best of luck to them; and in the latest in the weird Auburn-vs.-Michigan tug-of-war, Dee Hart has apparently gone from being a potential Michigan commit at their May 22 “BBQ at the Big House” to maybe not committing to now maybe not even attending, so that’s good news, and maybe even better is that Alabama writers seem pretty sure he’s not going to T-Town (you’ll never believe this, but apparently Alabama doesn’t want him!). The bad news is that Kris Frost told MGoBlog’s krootin’ writer that Michigan led for him; I also know plenty of Auburn folks that believe we’re in the lead, so you can make your own mind up. This is all extremely important.
*I am sooooooo clever.