Guz Malzahn to Auburn: 5 Recruits Impacted the Most by Tigers' New Hire
Chris Low of ESPN.com is confirming that Gus Malzahn will take over as head coach at Auburn. This is one of the most interesting hires in recent years, as Malzahn is a respected offensive mind and has history on The Plains.
One of the immediate questions recruiting fans will pose is can Malzahn match Chizik's excellent recruiting abilities at Auburn. We will see if he can almost immediately, as Malzahn will need to re-recruit several prime-time Auburn recruits and get them to re-commit to the Tigers.
Here are five recruits that will be impacted the most by this hire.
5. Tashawn Bower, DE
Bower is one of the top prospects with whom Malzahn will need to spend time re-affirming his commitment. The thing is, Bower is from New Jersey, so Rutgers remains a very big threat to Auburn.
Scout.com reported that Bower has made many trips to Piscataway and several Rutgers coaches have gone to see Bower play in person.
At 6'5" and 241 pounds, Bower's upper-body strength and edge-setting ability would be great for Malzahn to have blossom into one of his best defenders in a few seasons.
It'll be interesting to get Bower's full reaction to Malzahn's hiring.
4. Jordan Wilkins, RB
Wilkins will be impacted by this hiring both from a recruiting standpoint and also from a football-scheme fit standpoint. Does the 6'2", 205-pound RB fit what Gus Malzahn wants from a RB in his offense?
Wilkins is a big back with some wiggle, has a little quickness to him and runs with solid instincts. He may fit best as a downhill-attacking style back, rather than a traditional scat-back type that a spread offense like Malzahn's likes.
Scout.com reports to expect Ole Miss, Vandy, Arkansas and Tennessee to lurk around Wilkins.
3. Carl Lawson, DE
One of the very first orders of business for Malzahn is to contact Carl Lawson. Malzahn must make sure Lawson is on board and re-sell Auburn to the talented DE, only with Malzahn's twist.
Lawson is a nationally elite prospect and a cornerstone of the Tigers' 2013 recruiting class. If he doesn't like Malzahn's hiring, he could re-open his recruitment and head to Clemson, LSU or Alabama.
2. Reuben Foster, LB
Things are going to get juicy with Foster now, as hiring Malzahn could re-affirm his commitment to Auburn or push him into Mark Richt's arms at Georgia.
Foster is the best player in Auburn's class and Malzahn must make a great impression on him. With Gene Chizik being a defensive-minded head coach, Foster surely loved the idea of playing for a coach that loved his position especially.
Will Foster like the idea of playing for a first-time BCS program head coach that has made his mark strictly as an offensive guy?
1. Jeremy Johnson, QB
Johnson is the No. 1 guy impacted by this hiring because of his position and his talent. Malzahn is a QB coach at heart, and Johnson has to be wondering if Malzahn will want to keep him.
Does the 6'5", 215-pound signal caller have the skills that Malzahn likes in his type of QBs? If Malzahn decides to keep him, Johnson is in for a treat because Malzahn is a heck of a QB coach and offensive mind.
If you're Jeremy Johnson right now, part of you is excited to play for Malzahn, but another part has to be wondering what Malzahn will think of you as a QB.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.