Auburn Football: Gus Malzahn, Strong Recruiting Signal Big Turnaround for Tigers

Shawn Brubaker@@63brubakerContributor IIDecember 10, 2012

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 1: Head coach Gus Malzahn of the Arkansas State Red Wolves calls a play against the Oregon Ducks on September 1, 2012 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

This year was one to forget for the Auburn football program, but things are looking up with a new coach and a stellar recruiting class.

Here are some reasons to get excited for Auburn football in 2013.


Gus Malzahn Promises Explosive Offense

Gus Malzahn is an offensive guru, and his contributions have already led Auburn to great offensive production.

Malzahn was the Tigers' offensive coordinator from 2009-2011, guiding the offense to a national championship and Cam Newton to the Heisman.

Malzahn's offense promises balance and explosion. Under Malzahn in 2010, Auburn racked up 3,002 passing yards and an astounding 3,987 rushing yards for a combined 6,989 yards. 

Though his stint at Arkansas State was not quite as impressive, the Red Wolves still experienced major offensive success under Malzahn. The Red Wolves racked up 3,173 passing yards and 2,609 rushing yards in 2012, showing the level of balance Malzahn-led offenses always possess.

Simply put, this man he been at the helm of some explosive offenses. With Malzahn back at the helm, Auburn is guaranteed to improve on its 117th ranking on offense.


The Makings of a Devastating Running Game

Auburn had a tremendously young offense this year, which definitely caused some major growing pains. On the plus side, they return the makings of a great running game, with four returning offensive linemen and the explosive Tre Mason returning at running back.

Mason has nice vision and great speed that makes him a threat whenever the ball is in his hands. Even in a struggling offense, Mason racked up 1,002 yards this season on just 171 carries. Expect Coach Malzahn to make him a star, and keep a look out for Mason as a breakout star in 2013.

JUCO recruit Cameron Artis-Payne will be also added to the mix, and he's a legitimate talent in his own right. Artis-Payne was stellar for Allan Hancock College with 1,364 yards on a 6.0 yards-per-carry clip. He's a bigger back who should complement Mason well.

Finally, four-star recruit Jordan Wilkins has great potential with elite speed and imposing size as well.

With Malzahn calling plays and a nice stable of running backs, this offense should rip off chunks in bunches in 2013.


A Stellar Recruiting Class

Assuming no more recruits de-commit after the Malzahn hiring, Auburn will be bringing a deep group of recruits with potential stars at the most important positions.

Highlighting the class are a pair of 5-star defensive ends: Carl Lawson and Dee Liner. Liner is enormous for a freshman, already weighing in at a solid 274 pounds. Lawson is smaller at 253, but he is explosive with a 4.7 40-yard dash. Both could contribute immediately for the Tigers.

Perhaps even more importantly, 4-star quarterback Jeremy Johnson looks to have the potential to finally make Auburn fans forget about Cam Newton. He will have high expectations surrounding him, but the talent is there.

With a total of seven recruits of 4 stars or better, Auburn's class is stellar and lays the foundation for a bright future for the Tigers. With an influx of talent and Malzahn at the helm, this team could become a national force sooner rather than later.