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Auburn def. Tennessee, 78-77 (men)

Welcome to Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, where Auburn is playing host to Tennessee.

    Auburn 78, Tennessee 77. Barber hit a lay-in with five seconds left. Auburn botched an in-bound pass, but Waller grabbed the ball amid a major scramble. Tennessee was caught in transition, so to speak, because it thought a fast break was starting. Waller found Barber under the basket. Tennessee's final heave, from Prince's hand, was off to the right as the buzzer sounded.

  • TO @:16, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Tennessee leads, 77-76. Lucas Hargrove is at the line; two shots.

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:32, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Tennessee leads, 73-69. J.P. Prince has kept UT moving by rolling into the lane and creating opportunities. He drew fouls on back-to-back trips. Barrett is at the line for two shots right now.

  • THIRD TO @ 6:05, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 67-66. We have a ballgame here. As they've been doing since the first minutes, the two teams match each other at every turn. It's basically Barrett against Tyler Smith. I hope you can watch it. The game is entertaining for sure.

  • SECOND TO @ 11:34, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Tennessee leads, 62-61. The Vols built a six-point lead, but Auburn has climbed back in it. Barrett has been the savior so far. He has hit several big shots. Also, Tennessee has no way to guard Barber on the backside ... so Auburn keeps lobbing passes over the front-side defender and Barber lays it in.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:08, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 54-53. Tennessee took its first lead at 15:25, but Barrett just gave Auburn another lead. The Tigers' zone defense is not working. It's man-to-man or bust at this point.

  • Thanks to Kristina and "Earl" for rolling by to say hello at halftime.

    Auburn leads, 43-41. Good game. One thing -- Johnnie Lett is on crutches (after injuring his ankle earlier this week) and doesn't look healthy at all. I don't think he'll be back anytime soon.

    Quick Change is the halftime entertainment today. I'm staying for this one.

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:36, 1st half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 40-32. These two teams play along with each other. If one is hot, the other gets hot. When that passion tails off, the other team follows along. Interesting to watch.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:56, 1st half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 29-24. Yes, they just played nearly three minutes without a basket. The rims are back to their usual circumference.

  • SECOND TO @ 10:40, 1st half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 29-24. The Tigers scored on its first six consecutive possessions since the last stoppage. So did Tennessee. I wouldn't say it's poor defense per se; both teams are hitting challenged/difficult shots.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:11, 1st half (media timeout)
    Auburn leads, 15-6. Great start for the Tigers. Barrett already has six points.

  • Your Auburn starters
    PG -- DeWayne Reed
    SG -- Tay Waller
    SF -- Rasheem Barrett
    F -- Lucas Hargrove
    F/C -- Vot Barber

    This is the first game Tez Robertson hasn't started since the spring of 2005.

The HABOTN Signee Bios® (Episode III)

Hey everyone. We have some stuff going down today.

The Auburn men play at noon CST against those vivacious Volunteers. I'll be there chronicling the fun that is Jeff Lebo Basketball™. Please stop by and join us.

We've also come to the final installment of recruiting bios.

Please enjoy.

TE Philip Lutzenkirchen
6-4, 245, Lassiter HS (Marietta, Ga.)
Lutzenkirchen is the Tigers' most high-profile signee. A tight end with excellent hands, he participated in a variety of all-star games and performed well against top defensive competition. He committed during Tuberville's reign and simply transferred that allegiance to Chizik. He profiles as an ideal tight end in Gus Malzahn's offense.

QB Clint Moseley
6-4, 200, Leroy HS (Leroy)
Moseley was named the state's top player in December, but had few high-profile offers until Auburn offered a scholarship in mid-January. He has a winning pedigree -- Leroy has won three consecutive state titles in football and two in baseball with Moseley in featured roles. Considering Auburn's depth at quarterback, Moseley could move to another position.

DB Taikwon Paige
5-10, 175, Aiken, S.C. (Georgia Military College)
Paige is a small defensive back, but Auburn coaches believe refined instincts will allow him to overcome physical deficiencies. Paige is remarkably thin. He didn't receive surplus recruiting attention -- receiving only a few BCS-conference offers. One of those interested schools was Minnesota, where Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof spent the 2008 season. Paige has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

QB Tyrik Rollison
6-1, 185, Sulphur Springs HS (Sulphur Springs, Texas)
Rollison wasn't on Auburn's radar until Chizik was hired. The dual-threat quarterback immediately built a close relationship with Tigers assistant Curtis Luper. It paid off in late January when Rollison picked Auburn over Kansas State. His high-school offense was built to showcase his skills and that helped him produce high numbers. Rollison finished with 51 touchdown passes, completed 74 percent of his throws and rushed for more than 1,000 yards. He is an elite prospect.

WR Travante Stallworth
5-10, 180, Leesville HS (Leesville, La.)
Stallworth committed with Auburn last summer, but he considered offers from Michigan and South Carolina. He played quarterback in high school because Stallworth was his team's best player. He'll play slot receiver in college. Stallworth has excellent straight-line speed, which could make him a useful punt- or kick-return specialist at some point.

OL John Sullen
6-5, 340, Auburn HS (Auburn)
Sullen initially committed to Southern Miss, but changed his tune when Auburn offered a scholarship in mid-January. He's a large individual, hence his nickname "Big John." He didn't show much quickness in high school, so Auburn likely will put him on a weight-loss program. Other schools that offered scholarships included Duke, UAB, South Alabama and Memphis.

DB Reggie Taylor
5-10, 170, Peach County HS (Fort Valley, Ga.)
Taylor is another prospect who committed to Auburn last summer. Unlike some of his Auburn classmates, though, Taylor told coaches from other programs that he wasn't interested. He's a slim guy -- Auburn lists him at 165 pounds -- which limits his ability to help in the short term. That may not be a problem; Taylor is considered an academic risk.

DT Jamar Travis
6-1, 300, W.S. Neal HS (Brewton)
Travis initially committed to Southern Miss, but changed his allegiance when Auburn offered a scholarship in mid-January. He's a short, run-stopping specialist reminiscent of former Auburn tackle Tommy Jackson. He has quick feet that allowed him to accelerate past most offensive linemen charged with guarding him. Travis also earned a reputation for playing with consistent effort from first snap to last.

TB/WR/DB/KR Demond Washington
5-9, 185, Tallassee HS (Tallassee)/Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.
Washington is perhaps the most versatile player in this class. He played cornerback, tailback and wideout in junior college. Considering the Tigers' array of similar players clearly headed for offensive roles, Washington appears destined for defensive duty. He committed to Ole Miss initially. He changed that allegiance a week before Signing Day. Washington will be a special-teams candidate immediately. He has two years of eligibility remaining.


LB Eltoro Freeman
6-0, 225, Alexander City (Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.)
Auburn believes Freeman can be everything Tray Blackmon was supposed to be. He'll likely begin his college career as the team's top option at weak-side linebacker. Freeman has plenty of speed and combines that with refined coverage instincts. He was highly recruited out of junior college, but his allegiance to the Tigers never wavered. Freeman has three years of eligibility remaining.

TB/WR Onterio McCalebb
6-0, 175, Ft. Meade, Fla. (Hargrave Military Academy)
McCalebb is pure speed. Auburn plans to use him as a multi-purpose offensive threat -- mimicking what Florida did with Percy Harvin in recent seasons. He'll be a tailback by trade. McCalebb signed with Auburn initially in 2008 after breaking a commitment to West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez. McCalebb currently is enrolled at Auburn, will participate in spring practice and has four years of eligibility remaining.

Another radio appearance?

Hey everyone. I'll be co-hosting The Roundtable on WSPM-AM 740 (in Montgomery) this afternoon. The show runs from noon to 2 p.m. CST.

Of course it's streamed on the interwebs.

UPDATE (@12:20 p.m.): I think we're live.

The HABOTN Signee Bios® (Episode II)

Post No. 1,041

Hey everyone. Let's take a peek at the next group of 2009 Auburn signees.

I divided the list into three groups so it wouldn't be spammy. Episode I was yesterday. Check below for that information.

LB/DE Donald "Dee" Ford
6-2, 190, St. Clair County HS (Odenville)
Ford played mostly in anonymity in high school, which eliminated the opportunity for hype. He played outside linebacker at St. Clair County, but Ford believes the Tigers want to use him as a speed-rush guy at end. Either way, he'll need a year of intensive weight training. He looks like a wideout right now.

LB Harris Gaston
6-4, 225, Bessemer Academy (Bessemer)
Gaston is an intriguing prospect. He was a dominating outside linebacker in high school who scared opponents with his ferocity. The problem is that he played in a private-school league. The competition wasn't notable. Is Gaston good enough to thrive against top public-school products? He showed refined aptitude for run-stopping and pass-coverage responsibilities in high school.

WR Anthony Gulley
5-11, 185, Brantley HS (Brantley)
Gulley is another small-school product, though Brantley High is a consistent contender for the Class 1A championships. Gulley was the Bulldogs' do-everything guy last season and emerged as a lower-tier prospect. He's very quick. The knock is that Gulley isn't a big guy and his narrow frame suggests he won't be getting much bigger. Auburn thinks he'll emerge as an ideal option at slot receiver, where he can catch quick throws and use quickness to break free.

OL Andre Harris
6-4, 325, Lovejoy HS (Hampton, Ga.)
Harris committed to Auburn last summer and never seriously considered another scholarship offer. He had plenty -- from Tennessee, Rutgers and several Atlantic Coast Conference schools. He tipped the scales at 330 as a junior, but he arrived at his official visit in early January at 305. He projects as a guard in college.

DT Josh Jackson
6-2, 260, Gainesville HS (Gainesville, Ga.)
Jackson is a virtual unknown in the recruiting community. Auburn assistant Tracy Rocker, during his days at Ole Miss, monitored Jackson closely and offered a scholarship earlier this week. The north Georgia prospect looks like a long-term project.

RB Brandon Jacobs
6-1, 230, Parkview HS (Lilburn, Ga.)
Jacobs is a bulky back who brings power to the field. He's a long strider much like Carl Stewart, who played at Auburn earlier this decade. Jacobs received some January attention from Tennessee. Jacobs has the build and talent to play several different positions on both sides of the ball. His college role is unclear.

WR LaVoyd James
5-10, 175, Williamson HS (Mobile)
James is another of the short receivers Auburn targeted for Tony Franklin's spread offense. Williamson used James an slot receiver and he thrived in that role, showing no fear with crossing routes. He's has good lateral acceleration and has a refined approach to eluding defenders. James is a small player and doesn't have elite top-line speed.

CB Izauea Lanier
6-1, 185, Gordo HS (Carrollton)
Lanier is was a two-way player at Gordo. Auburn's new coaching staff viewed film of Lanier's work at cornerback and soon made an offer to play defense. He's more raw on that side of the ball, which signals a longer learning curve. Lanier said recently that his grades have improved significantly since his junior year and he expects to qualify.

Auburn def. Ole Miss (women), 72-65.

Hey everyone. Your No. 6 Auburn Tigers are playing host to Ole Miss tonight in Beard-Eaves.

    Auburn wins, 72-65

  • FOURTH TO @ 4:09, 2nd half
    Auburn leads, 64-61. The Tigers still making careless mistakes on both ends of the floor. I don't see much intensity.

  • THIRD TO @ 6:22, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Game tied at 59. Auburn built a 12-point lead, lost it in a span of three minutes. Ole Miss has hit four consecutive shots from the perimeter. That'll change a game quickly.

  • SECOND TO @ 12:33, 2nd half (Ole Miss timeout)
    Auburn leads, 51-43. The Tigers are on a 14-3 run right now: a pair of threes from Alli Smalley and some great passes from Whitney Boddie. Ole Miss is getting worked on the boards, too.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:39, 2nd half (media timeout)
    Ole Miss leads, 40-37. It's a sluggish game. Sloppy game. Auburn will get beat playing like this.

  • HALFTIME: Auburn 30, Ole Miss 29.

Kiffin gets the business

Photo credit:

From the Southeastern Conference office:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Feb. 5, 2009) – Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive has issued a public reprimand to University of Tennessee head football coach Lane Kiffin for his public comments made earlier today.

"Coach Kiffin has violated the Southeastern Conference Code of Ethics," Slive said. "SEC Bylaw 10.5.1 clearly states that coaches and administrators shall refrain from directed public criticism of other member institutions, their staffs or players.”

The phone call to which Coach Kiffin referred to in his public comments is not a violation of SEC or NCAA rules. We expect our coaches to have an understanding and knowledge of conference and NCAA rules.”

Here is a story outlining why the SEC is unhappy.
WVLT-TV reported that Kiffin told a group of fans at a signing day breakfast celebration Thursday morning that Meyer phoned (prospect Nu'Keese) Richardson while the recruit was making his official visit to Tennessee recently.

"I'm gonna turn Florida in right here in front of you," Kiffin said, according to WVLT-TV. "While Nu'Keese was on campus, his phone kept ringing. One of the coaches says, 'who's that?' And he said, 'Urban Meyer.'"

Richardson, a Pahokee, Fla., native, signed with the Volunteers on Tuesday, despite having indicated he would sign with the Gators.

Kiffin told the crowd, "I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him."

Radio Appearance Forthcoming

Hey everyone. I'll be co-hosting The Roundtable on WSPM-AM 740 (in Montgomery) this afternoon. The show runs from noon to 2 p.m. CST.

Of course it's streamed on the interwebs.

Please listen. If you feel motivated to call, please do.

It's 240-9230 locally. I'll update with the 800 number after I arrive.

The HABOTN Signee Bios® (Episode I)

Hey everyone. Traffic was swole on Wednesday thanks, of course, to your undying love and support for our little endeavor here. Our accounting firm still is tabulating the final results. I'll pass along those numbers when I get 'em.

You're wondering to yourself: Can't I get some legitimate assessments of these signees?

For a lot of fans, these kids are just names and numbers on a list. The good news is that I met most of them, saw film on most of them, had some in-depth conversations with a few. So here are my thoughts.

(I'll break this up into chunks of nine to avoid a spammy post.)

TB Dontae Aycock
5-10, 215, Chamberlain HS (Tampa, Fla.)
Aycock is a newcomer to the Auburn scene. He was committed to Georgia Tech for months and was expected to emerge as an option quarterback for the Yellow Jackets. Aycock played that position in high school. Auburn recently offered Aycock a scholarship with plans to use him at tailback, which changed everything. He won the Guy Toph Award as the top high-school player in the Tampa area last season.

S Daren Bates
5-11, 195, Olive Branch HS (Olive Branch, Miss.)
Bates originally committed to Arkansas State before receiving sudden interest from Auburn and Alabama in mid-January. He's known as a hard hitter who will play safety in college. Smallish size kept many big-name programs away.

WR DeAngelo Benton
6-3, 205, Hargrave Military Academy (Bastrop, La.)
Benton may be the star of this class. He's a refined wideout with good hands, a thoughtful approach to route-running and toughness. He signed with LSU out of high school (2007) and again after a year at Hargrave Military Academy (2008), but more academic problems forced him out of football last fall. He's on track to gain academic qualification this summer and, at 21 years old, could provide immediate assistance at the Tigers' weakest position.

WR Emory Blake
6-1, 195, Stephen F. Austin HS (Austin, Texas)
Blake is a top-rated wideout who brings a variety of skills to Auburn. His father, Jeff Blake, spent 10 seasons as an NFL quarterback. The younger Blake has good straight-line speed and has learned how to be elusive in the open field. He thrived in a competitive league loaded with Bowl Subdivision signees. He chose Auburn over Texas Tech.

DE Terrance Coleman
6-1, 245, Williamson HS (Mobile)
Coleman was Auburn's first commitment, but his allegiance was anything but solid. He stayed with the Tigers after Tommy Tuberville's resignation. Still, he seriously considered offers from Arkansas, Tennessee and Ole Miss. Coleman is the nephew of senior defensive end Antonio Coleman. He profiles as a quick tackle or weak-side end in college.

ATH Robert Cooper
6-4, 205, Daphne HS (Daphne)
Cooper is expected to "gray shirt," or delay his enrollment until January. He elected to go this route rather than accept scholarship offers from UAB or South Alabama. He played quarterback at Daphne and exibited plenty of athleticism in that role. The downside is that Cooper isn't all that fast and quarterback won't be his position. His skill set reminds me of Will Herring -- a former Opelika High quarterback who became a useful linebacker and safety at Auburn.

DE/DT Nosa Eguae
6-2, 235, Summit HS (Mansfield, Texas)
Eguae committed to Colorado initially. After feeling uncomfortable about what the Buffaloes had to offer, he backed off that allegiance in December. Auburn assistant Curtis Luper called a few days later. Eguae formed a tight relationship with another Auburn assistant, Tracy Rocker, and committed to the Tigers in late January. He profiles as a strong-side end or tackle in college.

LB Jonathan Evans
6-0, 205, Blount HS (Mobile)
Evans is a middle or weak-side linebacker with refined cover skills, which is a coveted property in the college world. That explains why he turned down offers from Tennessee and Oklahoma State to attend Auburn. Evans committed to the Tigers last summer and never wavered from that position, which kept his name out of the mainstream during the winter. He is the younger brother of former Auburn linebacker Chris Evans.

DT Nick Fairley
6-4, 295, Mobile (Copiah-Lincoln C.C.)
Fairley signed with Auburn for a third time Wednesday. He was expected to enroll in December out of a Mississippi junior college, but the 2007 Williamson High graduate was denied academic clearance. Auburn now believes Fairley will be ready for summer admission. He played tight end in high school and has enough quickness to cause problems along the line of scrimmage. Fairley has three years of eligibility remaining.

Chizik speaks

In this spot yesterday was a video of Gene Chizik.

I have taken down the embedded video, but click here to view Chizik speak about his feelings on NSD and the Tigers' haul.


Recruits by position

Here's a look at Auburn's recruiting trends. Where did they feel like they needed help?

  • Wideout: 4 (Benton, Blake, James, Stallworth)
  • Tailback: 3 (Aycock, Jacobs, McCalebb)
  • Athlete: 3 (Cooper, Gulley, Washington)
  • Quarterback: 2 (Moseley, Rollison)
  • Line: 2 (Harris, Sullen)
  • Tight end: 1 (Lutzenkirchen)

  • Line: 6 (Coleman, Eguae, Fairley, Ford, Jackson, Travis)
  • Secondary: 4 (Bates, Lanier, Paige, Taylor)
  • Linebacker: 3 (Evans, Freeman, Gaston)

**Of note: I think Washington will be a defensive back.

LIVE -- Gene Chizik NSD press conference

The event is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. CST. I am here.

  • "We've had a blast. It's been so great to go out and recruit the state of Alabama. It really has been very exciting. We were excited when we got here and we're more excited now."

  • "It was a big day for us today."

  • He's thanking coaches and the "player hosts".

  • "We had about three or four weeks to hit the ground running and recruit. We talked about a standard -- what Auburn is and what Auburn stands for. We made sure we recruited the right player. That's very important to us. I wanted to make sure we recruited student-athletes."

  • "It was really the first step in the foundation of what we're trying to do."

  • "A lot of people get caught up in the rankings. People get caught up in the stars. At the end of the day, they're not tell-tale signs."

  • "We're going to go out now and re-recruit our own players. We'll now get ready for the business at hands over the next six or seven months."

  • (Assistant coaches) "dug up guys form everywhere."

  • On the apparent surge during the past few days: "This day is a little nerve-wracking. It comes down to the past two or three days. I have to give credit our coaches who stayed in there and fought. They kept fighting and we ended up signing them."

  • On DeAngelo Benton: "We got him on campus. We threw our hat in the ring. We battled for him. Our assistant coaches kept fighting on that thing. That was never an easy get up until the time we actually received the fax. We thought we were in the race because we got him on campus."

  • "To a certain degree, it was like the NFL Draft. We've got to go get the best 12 or 13 guys on offense; the best 11 or 12 on offense. There has to be a mean to the madness. We had to find a balance between the best players available and what we needed, number-wise, to balance out the class."

  • "I can say that I'm happy with the class. Our goal is to make sure next year's recruiting class is better than this one."

  • On recruiting with staff vacancies: "The guys I put out on the road believed in Auburn."

  • "I'm excited about the result we had on this Wednesday morning. This was a huge, landmark day for us."

  • On his emotions this morning: "It's kind of like game day. You've got to produce. You've got to go in there, the adrenaline has to be flowing and you have to produce. I didn't sleep, but it was neat. It's your test. It's your exam. There was adrenaline flowing."

  • On getting kids out of Texas: "A lot had to do with pre-existing relationships and the timing of the whole thing. We have coaches who have recruited in Texas and had phenomenal relationships. You're able to get your foot in the door. When you get your foot in the door and get a young man here to campus, we feel like we have a shot. And it's a legit shot. We were able to close the door in the end."

  • On Moseley: "We're always looking for winners. It's hard to win one (state championship). He's won three. He's won a couple in baseball. He's exactly what we have envisioned. We're looking forward to him coming in here to compete."

  • Chizik doesn't want to compare Moseley and Tyrik Rollison. "They are two great quarterbacks who can come in here, learn this offense and earn this job."

  • On Eltoro Freeman: "You talk about an excitable guy? He's exciting. He's what you're looking for at that position. Getting here mid-year, that gives him a chance to get the defense. When they come in January, their chances for playing go up."

  • Chizik doesn't want to discuss which newcomers have a chance to play next fall. "We tell them: `If you're the best guy, you're going to play.' We want to open the book for them and give them some hope."

  • "With speed, we're always looking to upgrade there. We feel good about where we went in that direction."

  • On Benton's year off: "Coming out of high school, he was one of the top players. There are different circumstances with all the guys out there. He's one that we found. He looks like he can come in and play today. He's a couple years wiser. All you have to do is put on his senior-year highlights and you say: `Yes.'"

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

Questions? Comments? Post directly to the blog below or email me at

The List of New Football Players

Post No. 1,033

Hey everyone. It's National Signing Day. You know what that means? It's ON.

(11:30) DE Terrance Coleman, WR LaVoyd James and DL Nick Fairley -- all of Williamson High fame -- have signed with Auburn. That bumps the Tigers' 2009 class to 28 players.

  • (11:18 a.m.) DT Jamar Travis of W.S. Neal High in (East) Brewton has signed with Auburn.

  • (10:40 a.m.) LB Harris Gaston of Bessemer Academy has signed with Auburn. He'll emerge as an outside guy with power.

  • (10:25 a.m.) ATH Robert Cooper of Daphne High has signed with Auburn. He is expected to "gray shirt" this season and join the team in January.

  • (10:10 a.m.) TB Dontae Aycock and DB Taikwon Paige have signed with the Tigers.

  • (9:55 a.m.) DE/DT Nosa Eguae of suburban Ft. Worth, Texas, has signed. Read about him here: Truth sets Texas DE free - to sign with Auburn

  • (9:30 a.m.) WR Anthony Gulley of Brantley High has signed.

  • (9:25 a.m.) WR DeAngelo Benton of Bastrop, La. (also of Hargrave Military Academy) has signed with the Tigers. I consider that a completely crazy development. He's supposed to be a big-time wideout, but he hasn't played organized ball since November 2007. Either way, this is a significant NSD coup.

  • (9:15 a.m.) WR Emory Blake of Austin, Texas, has signed with Auburn. That is a major development because Blake was the most important "bubble" prospect on the Tigers' list.

    With Blake and now DeAngelo Benton signing on with Auburn today, it's clear that offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and his offense has captured the imagination of offensive prospects.

  • Here is your up-to-the-minute list of signees:
    • LB Eltoro Freeman (already enrolled)
    • TB Onterio McCalebb (already enrolled)
    • TE Philip Lutzenkirchen
    • LB Donald "Dee" Ford
    • DB Daren Bates
    • OL Andre Harris
    • WR Travante Stallworth
    • QB Clint Moseley
    • DB Reggie Taylor
    • RB Brandon Jacobs
    • DB Izauea Lanier
    • LB Jonathan Evans
    • QB Tyrik Rollison
    • OL John Sullen
    • DT Josh Jackson (of Gainesville, Ga. -- new to the scene)
    • WR Emory Blake
    • DB Demond Washington
    • WR Anthony Gulley
    • WR DeAngelo Benton
    • DE/DT Nosa Eguae
    • DB Taikwon Paige
    • TB Dontae Aycock
    • ATH Robert Cooper
    • LB Harris Gaston
    • DT Jamar Travis
    • DE Terrance Coleman
    • WR LaVoyd James
    • DT Nick Fairley

Signing Day (early)

Hey everyone. I'm headed up to Auburn shortly and will get into the flow around 9 a.m.

I realize that some players (notably Dee Ford and Philip Lutzenkirchen) already have forwarded their paperwork to Auburn. Despite Fox News' reports to the contrary, the HABOTN is not in all places at all times.

See you in a bit.

Auburn adds a cornerback

Hey everyone. Our friends at are reporting that Georgia DB Taikwon Paige has received a scholarship offer and will sign with the Tigers tomorrow morning.

He wasn't recruited by many BCS-conference schools. Not sure why.

Auburn now has commitments from 21 high-school players and two junior-college guys.

The Tuesday Recruiting Opus

Post No. 1,030

Hey everyone. Let's take a gander at what we think we know Auburn will get tomorrow. Then we can peep what Auburn may get tomorrow -- or later for prospects on the David Oku Plan®.

Here are the Tigers commitments. Can Auburn convert these commitments into signees?
(Reasonable Auburn goal: 100%)
  • DT Terrence Coleman, 6-1, 244, Mobile/Williamson HS
  • LB Jonathan Evans, 6-0, 205, Mobile/Blount HS
  • LB Donald "Dee" Ford, 6-2, 190, Odenville/St. Clair County HS
  • LB Harris Gaston, 6-2, 210, Bessemer/Bessemer Academy
  • OL Andre Harris, 6-4, 327, Hampton, Ga./Lovejoy
  • ATH Brandon Heavens, Bessemer/Jess Lanier HS
  • RB Brandon Jacobs, 6-1, 230, Lilburn, Ga./Parkview HS
  • WR LaVoyd James, 5-10, 175, Mobile/Williamson
  • OL Tyler Knight, 6-4, 245, Leesburg, Ga./Lee County HS
  • TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, 6-4, 245, Marietta, Ga./Lassiter HS
  • DT Jamontay Pilson, 6-3, 265, Greenville/Greenville HS
  • WR Travante Stallworth, 5-10, 180, Leesville, Ga./Leesville HS
  • CB Reggie Taylor, 5-10, 165, Fort Valley, Ga./Peach County HS
  • DB Izauea Lanier, 6-1, 185, Gordo/Gordo HS
  • OL John Sullen, 6-5, 340, Auburn/Auburn HS
  • QB Clint Moseley, 6-4, 200, Leroy/Leroy HS
  • DT Jamar Travis, 6-1, 300, Brewton/W.S. Neal HS
  • DE Nosa Eguae, 6-3, 235, Mansfield, Texas/Summitt HS
  • QB Tyrik Rollison, 6-1, 185, Sulphur Springs, Texas/Sulphur Springs HS
  • WR Anthony Gulley, 5-11, 185, Brantley/Brantley HS
  • DB Daren Bates, 5-11, 195, Olive Branch, Miss./Olive Branch HS
  • WR/TB Demond Washington, 5-9, 185, Tallassee/Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.

Here are the Tigers "bubble prospects". How many of these kids can Auburn land? I'm ranking them in an order than melds how much Auburn wants them and how into Auburn they are.
(Reasonable Auburn goal: 25%)
  • OT Aubrey Phillips, 6-6, 325, Olive Branch, Miss./Olive Branch HS
  • WR Emory Blake, 6-1, 195, Austin, Texas/Stephen F. Austin HS
  • TB David Oku, 5-10, 155, Oklahoma City, Okla./Carl Albert HS
  • LB Greg King, 6-2, 200, Memphis, Tenn./Melrose HS
  • DT DeQunita Jones, 6-4, 305, Bastrop, La./Bastrop HS
  • LB Tana Patrick, 6-3, 215, Stevenson/North Jackson HS
  • RB Dontae Aycock, 5-10, 215, Tampa, Fla./Chamberlain HS
  • WR Rueben Randle, 6-3, 195, Bastrop, La./Bastrop HS
  • WR DeAngelo Benton, 6-3, 210, Bastrop, La/Hargrave Military Academy
  • TB Bryce Brown, 6-0, 215, Wichita, Kan./East HS

Auburn adds another commitment ... sort of

Post No. 1,029

Daphne High quarterback Robert Cooper has committed himself to the Tigers' program, but won't make the roster until January 2010 ... at the earliest. We know this because our friends at tell us it is so.

Cooper will be grayshirting. He will sign a Letter of Intent on Wednesday, but will not enroll as a full-time student until January. That will preclude him from participating in football activities this fall because those endeavors are limited to full-time undergrads or graduates engaged in post-baccalaureate studies. When he joins the team in January 2010, he'll have five years to play four.

Cooper can play a variety of positions. Time will tell.

Auburn's last successful grayshirt: LB Chris Evans.

OT: 50 years ago ...

Post No. 1,028

Hey everyone. My father reared me to appreciate (and recall on command) early rock-and-roll music. He was into stuff from the 60s, but he made sure I respected the guys who made the genre possible.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of a big day in R & R history.

On 2/3/59, a small plane carrying popular musicians Richie Valens, J.P. Richardson (known then as "The Big Bopper"), pilot Roger Peterson and Buddy Holly crashed into a corn field near Clear Lake, Iowa. They were leaving a gig into difficult, blustery conditions.

People call it "The Day The Music Died." It was a huge story back then.

Holly was one of the most gifted musical minds of all time. He was a good musician, but his skill set was much more broad. Holly was performing his own songs (rare for artists in the 1950s) and produced his own stuff.

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley (who was Holly's contemporary) weren't shy about crediting Holly for stoking their affection for rock music.

Just thought you older HOTTIES might like to reminisce. Or you younger HOTTIES can learn about Holly. He was as good as they get.


Two linemen (and one WR/TE) make their decisions

Post No. 1,027

Corey Gaines (at left) has made his decision and it doesn't involve the Tigers.

The Tallahassee defensive tackle committed to Ole Miss this afternoon. Former Auburn beat hack, Neal McCready, broke the news over at

ALSO: Guard Johnnie Farms told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he will stick with his commitment to North Carolina.

UPDATE: WR/TE Tracy Moore of Tulsa, Okla., said he'll standing by his commitment to Oklahoma State. He visited Auburn last weekend.

Aycock bound for Auburn?

Post No. 1,026

Sounds like one of the Tigers' "secret" visitors may switch affiliations.

Tampa QB Dontae Aycock, whom Auburn wants at tailback, reportedly has lost his offer to Georgia Tech. He had been committed to the Yellow Jackets. They want/wanted him as a quarterback.

An excerpt:
“Auburn called him on Thursday and offered him on Friday,” Chamberlain coach Brian Turner said. “He was told [by Georgia Tech coaches] that if he took the trip [to Auburn over the weekend] the scholarship would be pulled.

Eguae walks the walk

Post No. 1,025

Hey everyone. I interviewed DE Nosa Eguae earlier today and he said several interesting things. My guess is that Auburn fans are going to like this kid for a long time. He's good, he's bright and he's serious about work.

You can read The Whole Story on Wednesday.

I'll give you this tonight: Texas Tech coaches were mighty unhappy when Eguae committed to Auburn on Jan. 26. That was the day after Eguae returned from an official visit to the Tech campus. Assistant coach Carlos Mainord tried to follow-up with an in-home visit after learning of Eguae's commitment. Mainord tried to push The Parent Angle, too.

Eguae's response?

"You can talk to my parents as much as you want, but I'm still going to Auburn," Eguae said he told Mainord. ``That's where I want to be. Auburn is the best fit for me. I told him that I want to play for Coach (Tracy) Rocker and that's how it's going to be. I'm looking forward to getting my conditioning packet from Coach (Kevin) Yoxall and getting to work."

Thoughts and observations, Part II

Post No. 1,024

Hey everyone. It's a rainy day in Montgomery and I'm less efficient as a result.

If only I could blog from Perth, Australia, this time of year. Western Australia's five-day forecast: Sunny, highs ranging from 82-92.

OK. Enough of that.

Here are my impressions of the seven prospects I met this weekend.
  • TB DAVID OKU of suburban Oklahoma City (at right): He's a high-energy guy who likes to talk. I can't imagine how loud he'd get on a football field. He's aware of his heightened status -- ie several top-rate programs are working hard to get him -- but doesn't really seem big-headed about it. He just plays to the crowd. He reminds me of Jomarcus Savage in that regard.

  • DT COREY GAINES of Tallahassee, Fla.: He's more introspective. I saw him at the Vanderbilt game and he was keeping to himself mostly. He seems legitimately anxious about choosing between Auburn and Ole Miss. He struck me as a pretty straightforward guy who didn't want to blow hot air. Reminded me of DeMarco McNeil.

  • S DAREN BATES from Olive Branch, Miss.: He's a happy kid. Two weeks ago, his college career looked like it was headed to Arkansas State. Then he gets an offers from Auburn and Alabama. He struck me as giddy about the opportunity to sign with the Tigers this week. Reminded me of Walt McFadden.

  • OL AUBREY PHILLIPS from Olive Branch, Miss. (at left): He got a big laugh by saying he remained committed to Tennessee, but revealed plans to concoct a Signing Day shocker. I thought it was funny. His delivery made me think it was a calculated thing. He seemed skeptical of the questions he was was asked. Took a second to ponder each question before answering and didn't reveal much. Reminded me of Zac Etheridge.

  • OL JOHNNIE FARMS from Perry, Ga.: He didn't wish to speak with reporters, which is fine. His family took a few seconds to say hello, so it wasn't an adversarial thing. Farms is committed to North Carolina. Anything he said could have been taken 1,000,000 different ways and it's clear that he's trying to be diplomatic here. Seems like a reasonable approach. He's a broad kid. I mean that in a good way.

  • WR/TE TRACY MOORE from Tulsa, Okla.: He was one of the two "surprise" visitors last weekend. Dontae Aycock, a tailback from Tampa, was the other. Moore was quite comfortable with reporters, which isn't at all surprising. He plays at Union High in Tulsa, which is one of the most consistently excellent programs in the Midwest. The top Union players are known throughout the region. Moore is a confident kid. He wants to play slot receiver, but he seems a bit bulky for that gig. He spoke openly about Auburn's strength (innovative offense) and its drawback (a long way from home). It's rare to hear a high-school kid speak so authoritatively. Reminds me of Tommy Trott.

  • DB MIKE EARGLE from Scranton, Pa.: I liked this kid because he was incredibly honest about his situation. He wants to play at a big school, has few scholarship offers and seems aware that he's on the fringe. Asked to list his offers, Eargle smiled and made it clear that his options are mostly provisional at this stage. I felt bad because it seems unlikely that Eargle will get his chance at Auburn. On the other hand, it's pretty cool that he's pushing the limits of his marketability and making the most of his situation. Reminds me of Mike McNeil and Tim Hawthorne.

Thoughts and observations, Part I

Post No. 1,023

Hey everyone. Thanks for reading yesterday's recruiting coverage. We received a ton of hits, getting February off to a roaring start.

I think I'm going to start posting our monthly numbers so you can see how things are going. This enterprise is as much you as it is me -- since I'd be writing to nobody if you all didn't talk about the HABOTN out and about.

If you think I'm wrong, look through the archives and see how many posts had ZERO comments back in the day.


Here are a few fairly random things I'm noticing...
  • One of the HOTTIES passed along an interesting article form the Tampa Trib yesterday about Dontae Aycock. He was in Auburn yesterday for a "secret" visit. Though the story says Aycock is committed to Georgia Tech, the source is a high-school assistant coach. Auburn wants Aycock as a tailback. Tech wants him as a quarterback. The real question is: Which position does Aycock prefer?

  • A trio of Auburn commitments -- LB Harris Gaston (pictured at left), CB Izauea Lanier and ATH Brandon Heavens -- took official visits to Mississippi State last weekend. Lanier and Gaston told that they're still completely faithful to the Tigers. Heavens could not be reached for comment. Are you see a recurring theme here? Heavens twice missed scheduled official visits to Auburn. I don't think he's in the Tigers' plans any longer.

    I'm sure that's weird for Gaston, who played with Heavens for years at Bessemer Academy until Heavens left for Jess Lanier in 2008.

    There still is talk that Bessemer Academy's featured tailback, Jeremy Cox, will accept a walk-on offer at Auburn. He would have been at least a semi-coveted prospect, but an early-season knee injury ended his year. He has a chance to be good. Just remember that former Prattville star Justin Albert, a scatback who also missed a portion of his senior season with a knee injury, spent last year rehabbing on the Plains and should be ready to go this spring. He'll have a leg up on Cox.

  • So how many spots does Auburn have remaining? Anecdotal evidence suggests 30 constitutes a "full" class and The Tigers currently have 25 players in the 2009 signing class. They can add up to 25 scholarship newcomers heading into two-a-days, so you can see the dilemma.

    Several major recruits with Auburn scholarship papers waiting include: TB David Oku, DT Corey Gaines, WR Emory Blake, OT Aubrey Phillips, OG Johnnie Farms, LB Jonathan Atchison, LB Joel Kight, QB Raymond Cotton, CB Greg Reid and DL DeQuinta Jones (pictured at right).

    Many of those guys are committed elsewhere. Still, surprises can and do occur on Signing Day. It's worthwhile to keep in mind everyone who has an offer -- particularly the guys who have made official visits.

  • Maybe you people saw this: LB Eltoro Freeman now is listed as a 3-star guy. That seems impossible to me. He was a 5-star guy once upon a time.

Recruit-by-recruit breakdown

Post No. 1,022

Hey everyone. So I was able to speak with seven of the Tigers' 12 official visitors this morning, though Farms didn't want to talk.

That's not too shabby.

So let's get to it.

Tailback from suburban Oklahoma City (Carl Albert HS)
Tennessee commitment

Player host: Ben Tate

On Gus Malzahn's offense: "Basically, all I can say is his offense is not fair from what I've seen. It's not fair with some of the trick plays he has done. It's just not fair to me. I was laughing about it with the plays as they're going on because the defense didn't know what was going on, so I just thought it was funny."

On when he'll choose a school: "It will probably be sometime around late February – 10th, 12th, something like that until I talk to one person in particular who's close to me. That's what it will be. I don't want to get attention or anything like that. The opportunity to come down here (was) great. It made me look at a lot of stuff that I really do like."

On the possibility of being solid on his commitment to Tennessee: "No. If that was the case, I would be signing on Signing Day. Coming here has given me a lot to think about, so I'm not signing anywhere. Otherwise, in that case, when it comes to Wednesday I would just be faxing information, but that's not the case."

Defensive tackle from Tallahassee, Fla. (Godby HS)

Player host: Byron Isom

On his Signing Day situation: "I'm really confused right now. I had my mind set up on Ole Miss, but Auburn is a nice place and Coach (Tracy) Rocker really wants to coach me. He's the best of the best, so that kind of threw me for a loop. So I've just got to pray about it and talk it over with my family."

On when he'll make a decision: "Probably Monday night or Tuesday morning."

On which schools are involved: "Ole Miss and Auburn."

On his favorite part of the weekend: "Just hanging around the players, really. Real down to earth, they were selling me the good and the bad stuff about being at Auburn right now."

Wideout/tailback/tight end from Tulsa, Okla. (Union HS)
Oklahoma State commitment

Player host: Antonio Coleman

On the weekend: "It went good. I liked everything down here and everything. I'm still committed to Oklahoma State as of right now."

On the pros and cons of Auburn: "The advantage is the offense and the disadvantage is being far away from home."

On Malzahn's offense: "I've known about Coach Malzahn since he was at (Tulsa) and everything. I pretty much know everything, you know, you gotta love that offense he runs. It's hard to stop."

On what surprised him: "How big the stadium is. I didn't know it was that big."

Offensive tackle from Olive Branch, Miss. (Olive Branch HS)
Tennessee commitment

Player host: Byron Isom

On the possibility of being solid on his commitment to Tennessee:
"I'm still committed, but on signing day I might shock some people."

On the effect Daren Bates' recent commitment to Auburn will have on him: "That plays a big part in the decision because I know I can go somewhere with somebody else that I know. I won't be so afraid to leave home if I got someone else going with me. So it plays a big role in my decision."

On what Bates told him: "He just said I love it down here. And he just said, 'Come then.' And I just said I might."

On who will help him make the final decision:
"It's all on me."

Defensive back from Scranton, Pa. (Lackawanna C.C.)

On if he's received an offer from Auburn: "As of right now, they haven't given it to me yet. They said it's a big process and something will work out."

On his choice if an offer is made: "If I received an Auburn offer, I'd sign tomorrow."

On his visit: "I enjoyed it. I wish I could come back and play."

On his connection to Auburn: "Coach Ted Roof. I received interest from Minnesota (Roof's former employer) when they saw my highlights. They decided to give me a call."

Safety from Olive Branch, Miss. (Olive Branch HS)
Auburn commitment

Player host: Craig Stevens

On going from an unheralded recruit to Auburn commitment so quickly: "It all happened in weeks. Everybody was coming at me and saying they wanted me to come visit this last week. It was easy to come to Auburn and play for them. Coach (Gene) Chizik came over to my school on a Wednesday. The next you know, Coach Taylor, Coach Roof all came over the next week. They offered me and I took it."

On hearing his name announced at Jordan-Hare Stadium last night: "That was awesome. I loved running out on the field. I could see myself doing that for the next three or four years. I had my jersey number on and saw the eagle and saw the type of atmosphere it would be that we play in."

On influencing Olive Branch teammates Aubrey Phillips to sign with Auburn: "Oh yeah. I'm trying to get him to come with me here so we can be roommates and be on the field together."

QB Clint Moseley of Leroy HS
DB Taikwon Paige of Georgia Military College (native of Augusta, Ga.)
TB Dontae Aycock of Tampa, Fla.
LB Greg King of Memphis
"OL" Charlie Knipper of Wisconsin (long snapper)

Sunday recruiting update

Post No. 1,021

We're on the hunt for recruits this morning in metropolitan Auburn, Ala. The picture above is of Aubrey Phillips. See below for information about the coveted offensive tackle.

  • UPDATE @ 11:30 a.m.: WR/TE Tracy Moore of Tulsa, Okla., was an unannounced visitor this weekend. He is an Oklahoma State commitment. He seemed enthusiastic about Auburn and the idea of playing in the SEC. has him as a 3-star guy.

  • Saw DT Corey Gaines, who said this weekend really scrambled his plans. He came into the visit with Ole Miss atop his list. Now Gaines said he's confused. He plans to make a decision on Tuesday.

  • Saw TB David Oku. He is planning to make a decision after Signing Day. He's shooting for the 17th. He said his commitment to Tennessee is iffy at this point. Oku was charmed by all the attention he received at the basketball game yesterday. It's down to Tennessee, Auburn and Syracuse.

  • Saw OL Johnnie Farms. He didn't want to talk much. He said the trip to Auburn "was good". Farms will be making a decision on Signing Day between Auburn and North Carolina.

  • Saw S Daren Bates earlier. He's happy to be with Auburn. He picked up an offer late last week, accepted it immediately.

  • Saw OT Aubrey Phillips. This was a peculiar one. He said he's still committed to Tennessee, but he plans to change his commitment on Signing Day. He didn't want to discuss things beyond that. Phillips made the trip with Bates. They both play for Olive Branch High near Memphis.

  • Saw DB Mike Eargle. He didn't get an offer from Auburn this weekend. I guess the Tigers are on a wait-and-see approach there. Eargle is from a Pennsylvania junior college. He has an offer in hand from Rutgers. He's also talking with Pitt.

  • I missed: DB Taikwon Paige, QB Clint Moseley, LB Greg King.

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