Since Gene Chizik’s arrival at Auburn, the Tigers' recruiting efforts have been among the best in college football. Chizik’s first two recruiting classes resulted in a major leap in the level of players the Tigers were pursuing - and getting. Those classes followed 5-7 and 8-5 seasons, respectively.
Gene Chizik is seeing the spoils of a national championship and a long-term contract this week.
With those results, just imagine what Gene Chizik and his staff can accomplish on the heels of a national championship run, particularly with the stability of that staff bolstered by new, lucrative long-term contracts.
This week, we are getting a glimpse of what that national championship weight is capable of producing.
Auburn’s run began with the commitment of Ricky Parks out of Hogansville (Ga.) Callaway, the top tight end prospect in America and the No. 66 overall recruit. You won’t find many more natural pass-catchers at the tight end position, and Parks has the athleticism to be a major coverage concern for linebackers and safeties.
On Saturday, one of the best in the class of 2012 was followed by one of the top prospects in 2013, defensive lineman Dee Liner. At 6 feet 4 and 260 pounds, Liner has emerged as one of the top prospects in the state of Alabama for the class of 2013 and one of the top junior defensive linemen anywhere.
Liner was a player that Alabama knew it had to make up ground with, and the Crimson Tide hoped it could convince Liner to hold off on his commitment. However, Auburn's momentum was just too strong and Liner decided to commit now.
Tuesday, the in-state momentum continued with the commitment of T.J. Yeldon out of Daphne (Ala.) High School. Rated as the No. 2 all-purpose back in the country, Yeldon has exactly the kind of versatility that Gus Malzahn and the Auburn offense covets. Yeldon can catch, he can play in space, he has speed and he is a winner - evidenced by Daphne’s undefeated state championship run in 2010.
On Wednesday, Auburn could add yet another big name to the fold with the impending announcement of Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek wide receiver Jaquay Williams. Another four-star prospect, Williams has been among the top performers this offseason in camp settings, showing a dominating skill set to accompany some unique size.
Potentially – including Liner’s projection – that is four four-stars in less than a week.
Through the beginning of May, Auburn had landed commitments from five-star quarterback Zeke Pike, a very good but underhyped linebacker in Cassanova McKinzy and a virtual unknown in tight end Darrion Hutcherson. A solid group, no doubt – elite even. But with Trooper Taylor, Curtis Luper, Tommy Thigpen, Ted Roof and the rest of Auburn’s all-star recruiting staff on the road pitching a national championship, many were expecting more.
With this week’s flurry and the potential of Jaquay Williams adding his name to the fold, the BCS Crystal is officially tipping some dominoes.
The SEC has never been tougher. LSU is 14 commits strong, Alabama has been adding commitments on a steady clip since January, Florida looks as strong as ever under Will Muschamp’s 11 early commitments and now Auburn’s presence is being felt in a big way.
Buckle up for an intense run to February.