The Auburn Tigers are in a state of disarray and uncertainly now that they have fired Gene Chizik, so if the Clemson Tigers wanted to pull off a major recruiting steal, this would be the perfect time to do it.
Clemson has still been recruiting 5-star defensive end Carl Lawson, who is currently an Auburn commit, and Lawson was at Clemson's 27-17 loss to South Carolina this past weekend. While it seems his commitment to Auburn is still intact, the firing of Chizik could completely change the complexion of his recruitment.
Here's what he had to say about the firing, via Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com:
"I'm in a little bit of shock. I talked to coach (Mike) Pelton today, I told him how I felt. I told coach Pelton that Auburn is still my number one school, but I'm evaluating my situation and options. That's what I have to do, but Auburn is still my number one options, that's what my family wanted me to do. It depends on what coaches come and go also. I want to see whether coach Pelton will be there, whether coach (Trooper) Taylor will be there.
"I love Auburn, I had a feel for Auburn, it was stable and it was the overall best fit, but you don't know what's next now, it's in limbo. It's hard for me, I'm just in shock right now. One of my official visits though will definitely be Auburn, and possibly Clemson and Ole Miss. I'm not going to make any dramatic decisions, I'm not flipping anywhere because Auburn is my main school and the school I want to stay committed to."
Lawson still remains committed, but there's no doubting that a sliver of doubt has entered his mind in regards to Auburn. Clemson needs to use this to their advantage, because Lawson would fit a huge need, and he'd be a big steal for their program.
Clemson recruiting took a devastating hit a few weeks ago when No. 1 overall recruit and 5-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche decided to decommit from the program, and then they went from bad to worse when Nkemdiche's friend, 3-star cornerback David Kamara, decoomitted soon thereafter. To top things off, Clemson dropped 4-star defensive end Elijah Daniel's offer because he wasn't firmly committed and was keeping his options open.
Needless to say, it's been a rough few weeks for Clemson recruiting. The Tigers are in dire straits, and Dabo Swinney desperately needs a recruiting win of any sort at this point.
Flipping Lawson would be more than just a win for Clemson, though—it could be a turnaround.
Lawson is 6'3'', 245 pounds and runs a 4.70 40 according to 247Sports, so he's big enough to play against the run, and more than fast enough to be a dominant pass rusher on the edges. He's also listed as the No. 1 overall weakside defensive end prospect, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, and he's Rivals.com's No. 4 overall recruit for the class of 2013.
Lawson is obviously an extremely talented recruit, but he's also obviously disheartened about Auburn firing Chizik.
This is where Swinney and the Tigers need to step in.
Swinney is a great recruiter, he'll provide Lawson with stability at the head coaching position and he can offer Lawson the star recruit status that was previously held by Nkemdiche. He'd also have the chance to win a ton of games in the ACC and at the very least compete to be relevant on the national scene. Clemson also has a good history of putting defensive ends in the NFL, so there's another point for Swinney and his staff.
Right now, there are no guarantees that Auburn can offer Lawson anything that he's looking for, and until they find a new head coach, that state of uncertainty will be their downfall.
The window of opportunity is there for Clemson.
Lawson did say that he may officially visit Clemson, so the interest in there, and with Auburn surrounded by a whirlwind of uncertainty at the moment, this would be the perfect time for a flip.