The summer recruiting season began with a bang last Wednesday. Not two days after Chizik and company were on the practice field trying to figure out their quarterback situation, the coaching staff landed one for the future in five-star quarterback Zeke Pike. Zeke chose Auburn over finalists Michigan*, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Purdue. Bryan Matthews of AuburnUndercover.com was on the ground in Edgewood, Kentucky and has free video of the announcement, which you can see here.
Meanwhile, a day later and a lot closer to home, Dadeville athlete Darrion Hutcherson made his announcement, choosing Auburn over Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Utah, and others. David Morrison has the video and coverage to prove it. Hutcherson’s commitment, after Pike’s, marks the fifth commitment for Auburn early in this 2012 class.
A defensive end and tight end at Dadeville High, Hutcherson is a bit of a mystery at the moment. The recruiting sites haven’t gotten around to ranking Darrion as of yet, and with last year being his first year at tight end, we’ll have to let his senior year unfold to see where his true potential lies. But what’s undeniable is his size — 6’7″, 245 lbs. — and his athleticism. Whether we’ve met the perfect tight end or H-Back to fuel the Gus Bus, or the next great Auburn defensive lineman to continue a decade-long tradition of wrecking game plans is to be determined. Where does Darrion want to play? “Wherever I can help the team, wherever I can help Auburn, that’s the position I’m going to play.”
Zeke Pike, on the other hand, is much less of a mystery. Big Zeke is rated a consensus five star by every recruiting site that has rated him. He’s ranked the No. 3 QB by Scout and ranked the No. 2 Pro-Style QB by 247. He’s already been named a U.S. Army All-American. And all of that after just one year at the helm at Dixie Heights High School.
Zeke’s a big guy at 6’5″ and around 220, and he’s got some mobility — although I’m more inclined to call it creativity. He calls himself a pocket passer at heart, and my guess is we’ll see more of that as he grows into his senior year. It looks like he has all the physical tools; Malzahn’s system will be the perfect place to use them. The only thing he’s lacking is experience.
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of both Hutcherson’s and Pike’s commitments weren’t the star-ratings, prospect rankings, or highlights tapes, but the steadfast, stay-the-course tone.
Pike says he’s done taking visits, except to Auburn. And Hutcherson? “I’m commited to this family,” he said. “Why go take another visit? I know where I’m going, and I have a family there.”
Solid verbals don’t get much more solid than that.
Zeke says he’s not just committed to Auburn, but to bringing in a #1 recruiting class with him. Darrion feels the same. The two actually talked after Pike’s commitment and before Hutcherson’s. As Darrion tells the story: “He’s like, ‘Just come on and be a Tiger, man.’ We gave each other our word. We’re not going to turn our back on family. Family don’t do that.”
They were also in agreement on one more thing: “We’re gonna bring that crystal ball back.”
This is obviously a great start for the coaching staff going forward with the class of 2012. That they’re able to land a national prospect with a complete offer list one day, and the next day — literally — pluck a homegrown talent to fit perfectly with their offensive system speaks (even more) volumes about their ability and work ethic.
And as for Hutcherson, I especially love watching him block out of the slot in this video. And, hey, if you’ve ever wanted to see what the ’90s Tiger Eyes logo would look like at midfield, you’re in luck! You can find a slew of other Hutcherson highlights here, and Sportz Blitz even has a 15 minute video of his commitment, with more questions and interviews, if you want to take it all in.
Have fun, but try not to get too excited; it’s April.
*We’d like to thank our friends over at MGoBlog for passing along their notes on Big Zeke after it was announced he would forgo the Maize and Blue for the Orange and Blue. They’ll get the next one. In fact, we already know they’ve got a blue-chipper in gorgeous Al Borges. Look out for that fullback wheel route.
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