In college football recruiting, athletes are rarely considered “can’t miss” prospects.
But, in the class of 2013 a handful of prospects have already been identified as truly special players—those who lack the glaring weaknesses that many high school recruits possess.
One is defensive end Robert Nkemdiche—the consensus number one recruit in this class. Another is
Rueben Foster, who many analysts describe as an “absolute freak.” And the third, Dooly County (Ga.) big-man Montravius Adams, is said to be the best defensive tackle recruit since 2006.
Adams is the only one of these three who remains uncommitted at this point—with Nkemdiche pledged to Clemson and Foster committed to Auburn.
For Adams it now appears to be a two-horse race—with Clemson and Auburn competing for his commitment.
It is quickly becoming apparent that Auburn is where this young man belongs, for a number of reasons.
Best Defensive Recruiting Class Ever
Superlatives like “best ever” or “greatest of all time” are thrown around far too often. But, adding Adams to a defensive class that currently holds commitments from Rueben Foster, Carl Lawson, Dee Liner, and Trey Johnson could prove this group to actually be—the best defensive recruiting class ever.
Foster, Lawson, and Liner are ranked by ESPN as the nation’s number two, five, and eight recruits respectively.
Adams is the 11th recruit on that list. Adding him to the talented group already heading to the Plains would create a class of highly touted defensive prospects like never before.
Chance to Play Early
Auburn coach Gene Chizik is not opposed to playing—or even starting—players early in their careers.
Last season, 17 Auburn freshmen earned significant playing time—17! This number includes freshman All-Almerican Reese Dismukes, and was one of the highest freshmen playing-time totals in the nation.
A statistic that pertains even more to Adams is the youth present on Auburn’s defensive line.
The 2011 defensive line depth chart was comprised entirely of underclassmen, including three freshmen who contributed at defensive tackle—the position Adams plays.
None of those three DTs—Gabe Wright, Angelo Blackson, and Devaunte Sigler—were as highly touted as Adams coming out of high school.
If the Dooly County product can live up to his potential, it is very likely he will see the field early in his Auburn career.
…if he chooses to play for the Tigers.
Auburn produces playmakers at defensive tackle, period.
Even casual football fans know about 2010 Lombardi award winner Nick Fairly, but not everyone knows about the other four current NFL defensive tackles who played football at Auburn.
Who is the better coach?
Three of these five DTs spent significant time on the field for their NFL team in 2011—including two (Jay Ratliff and Sen’Derrick Marks) who were full-time starters.
With NFL-experienced defensive coordinator, Brian VanGorder, patrolling the Auburn sidelines, future Tigers will be well-prepared to continue Auburn’s tradition of DT success at the next level.
Is Chizik better than Swinney?
Statistics support the argument that Gene Chizik has out-coached Dabo Swinney since 2009 (each coach’s first full season at his institution).
Since that time Swinney’s W-L record has been 25-16 whereas Chizik’s is 30-10. That 30-10 record includes an undefeated National Championship season in 2010 and three straight bowl victories.
Swinney’s bowl record during that time has been 1-2, and includes a 33-70 Orange Bowl loss last season.
The two coaches have practically the same in-conference record since taking over (15-9 for Chizik and 16-8 for Swinney) but Chizik has done so in the nation’s toughest conference, while Swinney competed in—what many would call—college football’s fourth best conference.
Though coaching success is not a top priority for all recruits, if Montravius Adams compares these coaches’ resumes, he will see that Chizik is the more accomplished of the two.
When to Expect a Commitment
Issuing early commitments has become a familiar sight in college football.
This year, the trend continues as over 70 percent of the 2013 ESPN150 players have already announced where they intend to play college football—months before their senior season begins.
This high early commitment total includes eight of the top 12 players in the nation. Adams remains one of those four uncommitted prospects.
Though there is no rush for Adams’ decision, Tigers fans should not be surprised if the talented defender follows suit and issues his commitment sooner rather than later.
Ultimately, this young man has a tough choice to make—one that will affect at least the next three years of his life, and any career moves after that.
Though future teammates, early playing time, pro potential, and coaching style are all important, there are more than just these factors to consider.
Some recruits also like to compare location, championship potential, defensive schemes, or relationships before making a final decision.
But any way you slice it, the Auburn Tigers appear to be the leaders in this two-horse race.
Currently, neither Clemson nor Auburn fans can do much more than play the waiting game as Montravius Adams prepares to issue his commitment to one of these schools.