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News of the day, 2/5

Hey everyone.

Let's get to business.

Thanks for spending an average of 117 seconds with us here at the HOTTEST Auburn blog on the 'net.

If you were reading yesterday's blog comments (as all HOTTIES are asked to do) you'd know that we here at the HABOTN take a somewhat cynical view of the recruiting machine.

Then something interesting happens. Dothan linebacker Spencer Pybus received a pair of welcome surprises today when both Auburn and Duke University offered football scholarships. How's that for a good day? He picked the Tigers and becomes the team's 29th commitment.

I'll tell you right now that I know almost nothing about this kid, but I talked with a coach recently who thinks Pybus is a classic sleeper prospect. It sounds like Auburn was hoping to get the kid as a walk-on, then were pushed into action when Duke made an offer this morning. Good for him.

UPDATE: My man Josh Moon reports that Pybus played an outstanding game against Lee High last fall. A lot of people do, I know, but Moon says the kid was really, really sick with the hits and knowing where to be.

SECOND UPDATE: I initially listed Pybus as the team's 30th commitment. I had forgotten to knock Jarmon Fortson off the list, so Pybus goes back to No. 29. Thanks to MaritaPayneFan for that one.

Former Montgomery high-school standout Michael Henig announced Tuesday that his football career is over. He graduated from Jeff Davis High and hoped to play at Auburn, but a scholarship offer never emerged. Henig instead accepted one from Mississippi State and spent some time as the Bulldogs' quarterback. He missed most of the 2006 and '07 seasons because of injuries and seemed hexed. Henig has the guile and raw ability to have enjoyed a much better career. It happens that way sometimes.

A piece of housekeeping: If you all post on the comments, go ahead and commit to a handle. I don't make you all register because I think registering is silly. Still, it'd be funnerer if y'all would stick with the same handles. Jenna Fischer would.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spencer Pybus...

3:35 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

That's the kid in question, yes.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK. Well. I guess it's time to fully acknowledge that Tuberville and crew did not perform quite as well on the recruiting trail this season. Before you tell me we won't know until 2 or 3 years for now, let's all realize that those 3 star and below standouts aren't quite as plentiful as the legend tells.

AU was pretty neck and neck with UF in where they were to date in regards to talent and the youth movement. Auburn's freshmen contributors proved to be as good or better than Florida's. I think AU has an edge on the DL with just about any program in the country (LSU and UGA are the exception mauybe).

That said, AU did not stay on par with UF on this particular recruiting term. AU did not stay on par with UGA either if it's worth mentioning. I think it's well documented that the focus was not entirely there in moving this program forward for some time surrounding the UGA and Bama games. Tuberville was nearly gone to LSU. So were some important people that work with him on a daily basis. That stuff, along with the coacing searches, had an effect on this recruiting term. It just did. You just can't deny that.

You can't deny that Mike Shula was a walk in the park to recruit against in the state of Alabama. You can't deny that Nick Saban was knocking on doors earlier than Tuberville was. It's documented. You can't deny that this new spread offense demands a different type of offensive player; some that were committed didn't fit the bill. It's documented.

We can pretty this one up all we want but it just wasn't a major success. When someone says "AU is gearing up for ANOTHER strong class in '09" it's just hot air. I believe Auburn will rebound in a big way in this state. It has to.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do like to see 4.5 40 and 40" vertical leap in a sizeable high school LB. That's impressive stuff. He's cat quick on the film. If Chris Evans can do it this kid can. He's got the brains.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's called a back up plans back up plan.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous users ... PICK A NAME ... all you have to do is click nickname and ... wait for it ... MAKE SOMETHING UP! That way, you won't all appear to be the same person and I can argue with you personally instead of just shouting to the crowd.


4:00 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Oh, he's definitely a back-up plan.

Also, y'all, he had a scholarship to Duke on the line here. As a Kentucky grad, believe me, I abhor Duke. It's still an incredible school. I'd have to think pretty hard about turning down a chance to snag a Duke degree for free.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You're totally right.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Also, I want to point out that recruiting isn't the same as the game.

Allen Iverson might say:

I mean, listen, we're talking about recruiting. We're not even talking about the game, the actual game, when it matters. We're talking about recruiting. I mean, how silly is that?

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks ... newsflash ... It's pretty easy to get great recruits when you have a lot of holes to fill. Think about it. "hey, these guys are not very good. I'll be a star right off the bat."

That being said, I am still not sure it makes a dimes worth of difference how many stars you have. Could there really be that much difference between a four and a three. And the answer is ... HELL NO.

Later on I will prove that and link it to you. Gotta finish the taxes first.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

I was a 2-star guy coming out of Kentucky.

Now look at me.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See ... that's what I am talking about. You were the classic sleeper.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not saying that I'm a recruiting analyst...far from it actually. But as an avid Auburn man living in Big Ten country, let me say several things.

First, rating systems mean crap. Just look at college football news's website today. They went back four years and re-ranked 5-star prospects. Several received 0-2 stars now. By the way, Dontarrious Thomas was a 2-star linebacker. Did anyone have a problem with him when he finished at AU?

Second, I just watched the video of this kid. He looks strong, quick, but most importantly, football savvy. He was in the correct spot every play That's the hardest skill to teach folks. Plus I'm sure the AU coaches saw him up close considering that he played against Auburn High.

Finally, I hate the Big Ten. Just had to throw that in there because I love rubbing their noses in it up here.

War Eagle

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it all the Bammers have to live in history land? There is nothing more pathetic. You got to get current dude. Don't talk to me about what happened in 1967. Who cares? Nobody ... well, except for you.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay, I was a 5 star. Now look at me. I'm a worthless anonymos hated by AuburnMath. Life sucks.

Seriously, peep USC and UGA's recruiting prowess since '02. Those programs are looking rather tasty right now. Look at FSU- at or among the top 3 in this same timeframe. The complete opposite. They're horrible.

Is it coaching? I'd think it a lie if we didn't admit we're peeping Bama's class when we make these discussions. Would we not be upbeat about a top 5 class?

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

auburnmath, do you not think Alabama stands a chance of improving with this class?

4:43 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

He's doing his taxes. Give him a minute.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sunshine pumpers love to point out Dontarrious Thomas and Sen'Derrick Marks and guys like that as proof that being as two-star doesn't mean you're doomed to be terrible for ever.

But the fact is, nobody's saying that.

Pybus -- and Derek Winter and Dax Dallenbach and virtually every two-star player ever signed by Auburn or any other school -- is a backup plan. Whether he ends up being any good or not, Auburn didn't want to use a scholarship on him until 18 hours before signing day. You think that's not significant?

If Tubs could take Julio Jones instead of Winter or Jerrell Harris instead of Pybus or or whoever, he absolutely would have. It's the same reason he would have taken Kai Parham (Rivals' top defensive end in 2002) instead of Kyle Derozan (the two-star DE Auburn got that year).

By and large, coaches would rather have five-star players than two-star players. Give me the Rivals top 25 every year, and I will straight beat you and any 25 two-stars bloody, no matter how "hard-working" or whatever your guys are.

Anybody who thinks otherwise is living in a dream world.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm taking a break.

Yes, they could improve and probably will. I'm just saying that I can't wait for the delusions of granduer to wear off about 6 weeks into next season. That's when all the historical BS will start flying all over the place. It's the new Bama Tradition ... Undefeated Off-Season Champs.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, there's a HUGE difference between Spencer Pybus and Dontarrious Thomas.

DT was a diamond in the rough; Auburn offered him relatively early and held onto him down the stretch. Pybus is an afterthought. If you want to close your eyes to reality and believe all is well because CTT says it's so, be my guest.

But it ain't.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear let's be serious people,

That's exactly what Bill B. said before the game on Sunday.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah. The Giants were all scrappy, hardworking two-star recruits. Whatever, dude.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure CTT said "all is well". Other spinners will say that for him. Again, he was too busy shopping for homes in Baton Rouge when Nick was at the ATM. And I do mean that in a frolicky, warm, joking sort of way.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Torbor actually was

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a direct quote from Spencer Pybus.

“I always usually know what’s going on on the field. I have run a 4.39 at Tennessee. I ran a 4.42 and a 4.43 at Auburn. I ran a 4.48 at Alabama. I have a low 4.4 average.”

And, call me silly, but this is a forum post from a Dothan resident on Pybus.

"I hope Bama makes fun of him all they want now while they know nothing about him. He is from here in Dothan and is a physical freak. He was hurt his sophomore and Junior years and played for a Northview team which had terrible coaching. He had the highest score of anyone ever at a Nike combine. Suffice it to say that once he gets coached up by Willis there will be another problem for Bama to worry about after Blackmon is gone. Laugh it up at his lack of stars Bammers. He's gonna getcha"

There's a pic of him on doing some drills. I have to say he certainly looks the part. He's a good looking athlete.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the most recent anonymous: Yeah, Torbor was a so-so recruit 10 years ago or so. But I'm guessing Belichick wasn't reminding his players of that before the kickoff Sunday.

The fact is, the Giants had plenty of No. 1 picks on their roster, and I'll bet they had plenty of five-star recruits, too.

But that's distracting from my main point, which is to say that no one should be happy when Auburn misses out on big names and settles for relative no-names.

You can spend the rest of the day naming two-star guys who turned out good. The fact is, Pybus and guys like him are backup plans, and no one should be happy that Auburn is having to settle for Duke recruits.


5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There you go: Pybus says he's good, and some dude who's from Dothan agrees.

That's settled.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a link to back up your claim on the NYGs? If you're going to spit at least have a little salt in it.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

obbern, redneck, sidewalk alum, chilli dipper:

He was a top performer at the Nike camp. He's fast. He's got the size. He's got a tremendous vertical leap. Alabama could use a guy like that.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear let's be serious people,

I wonder if you are really an AUB. Don't you know that we pride ourselves in NOT being Mr. Flash Superstar? We LIKE to be the blue collar, "okay, now I'm going to punch you in the mouth" kind of team. Those are the kind of people that we look for. What is it that you don't understand? It doesn't matter. Watch the games next year. You'll understand then.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous from 20 minutes ago who wanted proof:


Eli -- # 1 overall
Burress -- # 8 overall
Jeremy Shockey -- # 14
Aaron Ross -- # 20 overall
William Joseph -- # 25 overall
R.W. McQuarters -- # 28 overall
Matthias Kiwanuka -- # 32 overall


Junior Seau -- # 5 overall
Richard Seymour # 6 overall
Kyle Brady -- # 9 overall (Crazy!)
Donte Stallworth -- # 13 overall
Ty Warren -- # 13 overall
Laurence Maroney -- # 21 overall
Randy Moss -- # 21 overall
Vince Wilfork -- # 21 overall
Ben Watson -- #32 overall

Looks fairly even to me. Rivals records don't go back far enough to figure out how many of those guys were two-star recruits. But let's bet a steak dinner on it: I say they were more four and five stars than two stars in that group of 16, even though there are five times more two stars in the typical class.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Auburn Math: I like hard-working guys too. I'm trying to explain that "two star" doesn't ALWAYS mean "hard worker," just as "five star" doesn't ALWAYS mean "lazy, pampered superstar.

Thinking otherwise is delusional.

Let's try it this way: Who's tougher, two-star WR Bruce Edwards (2003) or five-star WR Andre Caldwell (2003)?

Who's more likely to "punch someone in the mouth," two-star DE Kyle Derozan (2002) or four-star DE Stanley McClover (2003)?

We could go on, if you'd like to tell me more about what Auburn fans would rather have.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Let's be serious has the right approach here, though I'm not sure anyone is directly disagreeing with him/her.

Tuberville probably rather would have Julio Jones than Derek Winter, though I'd rather say five-star prospect rather than Julio Jones.

Everybody knows who the studs are. I was doing some pre-Signing Day work today ... listing all the commitments and the scholarship offers they turned down to sign with Auburn.

There weren't many references to Notre Dame (0), Southern Cal (1), Florida (2), Georgia (1), LSU (1), Texas (0) or Oklahoma (0).

That, to me, is a telling trend.

I'm still about wins and losses. If Tuberville signs outliers and challenges for the SEC title, who cares? If he starts losing, that's it.

The kids and coaches he uses to get those Ws and Ls are peripheral in the grand scheme of things. It's all about his ability to challenge for the SEC/BCS championship.

Is he doing that? It's your call.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He WAS doing that. Is he now? Your guess is as good as mine. AU is very strong in the trenches on both sides. QB is a question. A big question. You lose 3 o 4 games a year without a good QB.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing that bothers me is that every kid we went head-to-head with Bama on ended up with them. This was the best recruiting class in-state in a long time and we got trounced by Bama. I don't care that we usually do better out-of-state, the fact is that they got just about everybody they wanted and we didn't.

I don't think there is any question that Tubs has competed for SEC/NC recently, but that was pre-little Nicky. Things have changed.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

I tend to agree. It certainly doesn't appear that Auburn handled business in the state this year.

I mean, Jomarcus Savage and Reggie Hunt may end up being superstars. Given the situation as it stands right now, though, Auburn didn't get it done around here and that's not a good marker for future in-state success.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reggie Hunt may choose West Va tomorrow.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

That would be a realllly bad sign.

I still think Enrique Davis will sign with Auburn.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm at a point where I feel ED HAS to sign with Auburn along with Robert Quinn.

Where's the biggest breakdown in your opinion, Jay? LB obviously. Receivers? I know we picked up some great speed. But I think there's more speed than skill. James Swinton still has not played. He can fly.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope to God Davis signs...we lost Fortson for sure? and Hunt might not be here??? i yie yie

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm digging this Pybus kid. I've never heard of him before this but it seems like he would have been a steal as a walk on. This also pretty much guarantees Jerrell Harris is headed to Bama in my mind.

I think this will be right at an average class for tuberville and co. Which is almost disappointing considering the talent in state and the recruiting machine on the west side of alabama. Say what you will but i care what the other schools are doing. It sucks for Auburn to have an average class and our two biggest rivals get whoever they want. I would still put our coaches up against any other program's. I'm thinking a year of the spread might churn up some more offensive talent next year.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Fortson is gone.

That's the first I've head of Reggie Hunt. I'm pretty sure he's solid to Auburn.

The biggest breakdown, to me, is simply the state. Look at U. Alabama's class and all the kids from Alabama. Then look at Auburn's haul. The Tigers were mopped in this state.

Again, this could all change in two years if Jomarcus Savage and Derrick Lykes are NFL properties, you know?

9:02 PM  
Blogger ADP said...

much ado about nothing ... my head is free and clear of the sand and my butt ... I am telling you that we are going to be fine ... War Eagle

10:42 PM  
Blogger Josh_Moon said...

I keep getting Spencer Pybus e-mails. All of a sudden, it's like I'm this kid's agent.

Anyway, I'm no recruiting expert and I have no idea how ratings are assigned or why one kid is a hot prospect and another one isn't. That said, I have watched a rather fair amount of football in my life. And this kid seemed like a pretty good player. Made a ton of tackles, intercepted a pass and was always around the ball.

I really would like to know why Pybus isn't ranked higher. I'm not trying to argue for a higher rating, but I'm missing the problem. He's fast. He's smart. He's a sure tackler. Seemed to have at least decent hands.

That's the official Josh Moon Recruiting Assessment. That'll be $49.95.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to issue a nickname for Spencer Pybus, as if Pybus wasn't already a studly Big Ten name.

"Spencer for Hire". Blue collar appeal, eh?
Yes, I posted under the same name yesterday.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

I was telling Goldberg yesterday that Pybus is a mathematician's name.

Forget Pythagoras.

I'm all about the Pybus principle: 0 scholarship offers + Duke = Auburn.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin Scarbinsky is a very cheesy writer. And, I've finally pegged his style. He's Peterman...on the famous opium binge.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine that. Duke forces your hand. In football.


7:05 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

Cheesy as in predictable?

Cheesy as in ingenuine?

Kevin amazes me. I'm doing an interview Thursday with a guy from Business Alabama about the alleged "media bias" in the Alabama sports media, and dude seemed to cite Kevin as the flashpoint.

Why does Kevin catch so much hell? I promise you that he's down the middle in Auburn/Alabama terms.

NOTE: Unlike some of the other media people we discuss in here (Goldberg, Moon, P-Marsh most often), Kevin is not a friend of mine. We don't hang out, so I'm not out here defending one of my peeps ...

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you who didn't know ... a "nunchuck" is a martial arts weapon made famous by Mother Teresa.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Jay G. Tate said...

That's terrible.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was referring to Kevin's writing "style" and his tendancies to be dramatic, which he's just not that good. If you read it much you know what I mean. He "quotes" more unnmaed sources than anybody in the biz down here. He emabarrasses the reader with his junk. I think that sums it up.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aumath, after you google the proper spelling of Bruce Lee's weapon of choise would you please post it?

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Main Entry: nun·cha·ku
Pronunciation: \ˈnən-ˌchək, ˌnən-ˈchä-kü\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural nun·cha·kus or nunchaku
Etymology: Japanese dialect (Okinawa)
Date: 1970
: a weapon that consists of two hardwood sticks joined at their ends by a short length of rawhide, cord, or chain

However, I did not realize it had an "N" so you might, maybe, possibly be smarter than me. Except for the fact that you misspelled CHOICE. Unless you are British.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Choish. That's British

10:09 AM  

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