New Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has only been on the job for a little over a week. Despite the short time frame, the new head man on the Plains has worked quickly on his top two priorities.
Those priorities were to hire a new coaching staff and to retain and build on the 2013 recruiting class. Currently, Malzahn has filled four positions on his staff. He has hired a defensive coordinator (Ellis Johnson), an offensive coordinator (Rhett Lashlee), a co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach (Charlie Harbison) and a strength and conditioning coach (Ryan Russell).
That leaves four more spots for position coaches available: defensive line, wide receivers, offensive line and running backs coaches are all still needed.
But a familiar face to Auburn fans has become a strong candidate for one of the open coaching positions on the offensive side of the ball—former Auburn QB Dameyune Craig.
Sources tell me that Gus Malzahn is considering adding FSU assistant Dameyune Craig to his staff. bit.ly/xpkQEX— Pete Roussel (@coachingsearch) December 12, 2012
Adding Craig to the Tigers' staff would be a big win for Malzahn. Not only does he fill a coaching spot with someone whom Auburn fans know and adore, he will add an elite recruiter to Auburn's staff.
Auburn fans remember Craig as the QB who led the Tigers to their first ever SEC Championship game in 1997. Craig threw for over 3,000 yards along with 18 touchdowns in the 1997 season.
Currently, Craig is Florida State University's QB coach and recruiting coordinator. During his time as recruiting coordinator (2010-present), Florida State has recorded two top-10 recruiting classes. Both of those classes were tops in the ACC.
After the 2012 recruiting class, Craig was named the Rivals.com ACC recruiter of the year for his efforts.
According to Josh Newberg of 24/7 Sports, Auburn's chances of landing Craig are very good if Malzahn decides to offer the job to him.
If Auburn offers Dameyune Craig what I'm hearing they will offer, I don't see FSU being able to match.Going above & beyond market value.— Josh Newberg (@joshnewberg247) December 13, 2012
With the loss of the top recruiters on Gene Chizik's staff like Trooper Taylor, Curtis Luper and Tommy Thigpen, Auburn has a desperate need for an elite recruiter like Craig. That is exactly what it would get if it hired him.
Adding Craig to the staff would also be a great strategic move for Malzahn. Any other school would have its hands full going up against Craig while recruiting the top targets in the state of Alabama. In the Seminoles' 2012 recruiting class, Craig reeled in two 4-stars and one 5-star recruit out of the state.
5-star QB Jameis Winston out of Hueytown, AL chose Florida State over the likes of Alabama, Auburn and UGA. Likewise, Craig out-recruited Alabama's Kirby Smart and Auburn's Mike Pelton for the signature of 4-star DT Justin Shanks from Prattville, AL.
In the 2013 recruiting class, Craig has garnered a commitment from 4-star OL Austin Golson of Prattville, AL and 4-star DB Marquez White from Dothan, AL. Craig was in Mobile, AL on Wednesday afternoon to check in on White and Golson at the Mississippi vs. Alabama High School All-Star Game.
On the field, Craig has been able to develop talent, and if he signs on for Auburn, he will likely coach WRs. Before landing at FSU, Craig was at South Alabama as a WR coach. He was instrumental in getting the Jaguars program off the ground in its infancy.
According to his bio at FSU, Craig played a big part as WR coach and helped that offense rack up 45.9 points per game and 439 yards of total offense in 2009.
Hiring Craig would be a big boost for Auburn's efforts to maintain its recruiting class that is currently ranked No. 16 by Rivals.com. It had reached as high as No. 10, but the coaching change has caused decommitments from high-profile recruits such as Reuben Foster and Trey Johnson.
Craig would be a grand-slam hire for Malzahn and Auburn fans. If he is hired on, Auburn fans may even forgive Craig for what some alleged as mocking Trooper Taylor and Auburn on signing day in 2012 in this video.
As a matter of fact, if he can recruit at the level he has in the last couple of years for the Seminoles, Auburn fans will definitely forget all about it.