A brief interlude before getting back to the business of 2010 football …
So, yeah, Luke Cothron and Shawn Kemp’s son aren’t coming this year. Between those two guys, Sullivan’s injury, and Armstrong’s injury, that’s 4 of the planned 13-man roster gone … and, I think it’s safe to say, three probable starters, plus at least 40 percent and possibly up to half of Barbee’s expected rotation. HOORAY! How long do we say the buzz from the new arena lasted? Does it even count if it hasn’t officially opened yet? Does this mean the buzz lasted, like, negative-three months? You figure all that out, I’ll be busy jamming this nail file into my eardrum.
Admittedly, that’s a little extreme, since aside from his inability to a) ward off the voodoo hex that’s attacked Auburn basketball players’ joints for the better part of the last decade b) tutor Shawn Kemp Jr. c) find a different available four-star post player in the space of a couple of weeks that would have been eligible, the signs on Barbee are still overwhelmingly positive. Fighting for free student tickets is a good thing. Working to create the atmosphere the team needs in the new arena is a good thing. And his ability to continue to attract talent even after Signing Day is a very, very good thing.
About Varez Ward: obviously, Auburn’s in a position of good fortune since he’s from Montgomery, but still, Barbee was ready. And Ward is a coup, a kid who got major PT at a major program as a freshman and will probably start from Day 1 if he’s fully over his injury and deemed immediately eligible … which is a possibility in this case, since his mother’s health could prompt the NCAA to grant him a waiver. There’s precedent.
So that’s some good news, assuming Ward’s transfer proceeds as smoothly as expected, with or without the waiver. But still: one in, four out means Auburn’s still got a long way to go to climb out of the red on the win-loss ledger.
Now for some unambiguously positive news: Mike Blakely has announced that he’ll spend the first official visit of his fall on the Plains, the weekend of the South Carolina game. Quote:
“Auburn is a great school. I have been up there a few times and I had fun on my visits,” Blakely said. “I also will be visiting Florida and South Carolina. Those are my three favorite schools. I want to see USC but I just don’t right now. I want to pick a place where I will feel good at, somewhere I feel comfortable.”
Hmmm … that doesn’t really sound good for Carolina, does it? But a nice showing would certainly help that week, current Tigers, hint hint, wink wink.
Elsewhere, the parallels in the recruitment between 2009 Thibodaux, Louisiana stud Trovon Reed and 2010 Thibodaux, Louisiana stud Greg Robinson continue to get more and more encouraging. It was about the same time last year that Reed let slip that Auburn led that Robinson said the same thing last month, and it was about this time last year that LSU fans started admitting that their staff had work to do to catch Chizik and Co. if they were going to keep Reed in-state. Cue the redux from the purple-and-gold faithful:
He is the last of the 2011 Louisiana offensive linemen that Les Miles wants. With potentially Greg Robinson and La’el Collins as book ends on the offensive line, the QB of the future will have plenty of time in the pocket. In fact, if LSU can get him to sign, then this would definitely be the top OL class in the country. That’s a BIG ‘If’ because Auburn, Trooper Taylor, and Trovon Reed (former teammate of Robinson’s that signed with Auburn in 2010) are really making things difficult for the LSU staff. Greg Robinson has visited Auburn multiple times over the spring and summer. He has said that Auburn and LSU are his top two. Early in the process he was pretty set on attending LSU. Over time he has become an Auburn lean. In fact, if signing day was on next Wednesday, he would sign with Auburn. The staff has until Feb. to sway him back.
Remember: this is an LSU writer saying this. They have reason to be positive, not negative.
Meaning, of course, that it’s safe to assume Auburn now has a firm lead for another consensus top-100 player. That doesn’t mean a whole lot now–as we learned with Reed last year, we’re not going to be able to feel that good about Robinson until his signature comes over the fax–but when you’re talking about a prospect of Robinson’s caliber, we’ll take it.