Looking back at: Auburn's 2010 signing class
I took a few days to consider what happened last Wednesday. Since it's pointless to argue about the prospects -- Mike Dyer might bust and LaDarious Phillips might be the next Brandon Jacobs -- I took a slightly different approach.
I examined Gene Chizik's verifiable victories.
Along with that story was a report card. If you sense cognitive dissonance between my column's premise and the mere existence of an Auburn report card, well, you'll have to figure that out on your own ...
A- Auburn signed and enrolled the nation's top junior-college quarterback in Cam Newton. He becomes the heir apparent to Chris Todd and gives fans immediate hope for the 2010 season.
A- Ben Tate is headed to the NFL and Auburn turned that into a perfect marketing plan. Michael Dyer, whom many believe was the nation's top tailback recruit, will play a meaningful role this fall.
Wide receivers/tight ends
A Auburn needs depth here and it came through, signing four wideouts and at least one tight end. Three of the wideouts are blue-chip guys.
A+ Here's another position where Auburn struggled to fill the two-deep last fall. The Tigers signed six offensive linemen. Three of them were blue-chip guys including Shon Coleman, who was a five-star recruit.
A Tackle was an area of primary concern and coach Gene Chizik snagged two big, impact guys in Kenneth Carter and Jeffrey Whitaker. I really like end Corey Lemonier as well.
B+ This may have been the Tigers' biggest need. The team signed four guys. The linebacker I like best, LaDarius Owens, may play defensive end. We'll have to see how the other three develop.
B Auburn snatched safety Ryan Smith from Kentucky at the last minute. He's a difference-maker. I also consider safety Demetruce McNeal a good one. Two of the three cornerbacks are in the midst of position changes.
B Chizik was aggressive here, signing kicker Cody Parkey and punter Steven Clark. Parkey was awful in the Under Armour game. Clark's numbers were pretty good.