Rivals.com expert impressed with Auburn
It's one thing to be embedded like me. People who stand on the periphery see things from a different perspective. They bring up stuff I hadn't considered or re-affirm some things I think I know.
If that makes sense.
One of today's interviews was with Barton Simmons of Rivals.com, who focuses on recruiting throughout the Southeast and Texas.
Here's what he had to say about Auburn:
Q: What has been your impression of how Gene Chizik has changed Auburn's image in the recruiting world?
A: The way they've gone about it all -- they're clearly going after elite players in their region. They have the best of the best in their sights. Some people might say they're shooting for the stars, but I think it's going to pay off. It's already paying off. They're in the mix for a different level of recruit now. They're going after better guys and getting better guys.
Q: Like Michael Dyer?
A: Exactly. You didn't see Tuberville going after a guy like that unless he was in-state. Chizik and those guys went to Arkansas and got the best player in Arkansas. Same for Trovon Reed. They went to Louisiana and got the best player in Louisiana. People just don't do that with LSU down there.
Q: Simply getting Dyer and Trovon Reed committed ... is that a victory in an of itself?
A: Absolutely. I continue to hear kids say they're interested in Auburn. They've gotten themselves out there among these kids. They know about Auburn, what's happening at Auburn, who's going to Auburn. Guys like Dyer and Reed, it's like dominoes. Word gets around. Good players want to play with good players and that's what Chizik has done. He's created a reputation.
Q: Where does Auburn go from here?
A: There's still a lot of room and time for Auburn to get in with some big recruits. They're on several right now. This group is one to watch. Chizik has made recruiting an emphasis. They all work hard at it -- and that includes Chizik. They all work together to sell that idea of family. I've talked to kids who say they really liked talking to Chizik, said he relates really well with them. They're good at building relationships.
Q: What is your general thought of Auburn right now?
A: They have a sexy offense. Kids really respond to it. The defense -- recruits knows there is a chance to play right now. Auburn could be a sleeping giant. They're only two years out from being a challenger. If they keep recruiting like this, I'd say they're only a few years away from challenging again. It's a program that has really changed how people see them. They're a threat to some programs that probably didn't worry about Auburn before.