Auburn missed out on landing one of the top RBs in the country on Saturday afternoon when RB Derrick Green announced his college plans to attend Michigan.
Green is a powerful back with speed that would have fit perfectly into head coach Gus Malzahn's high-octane offense.
All is not lost for Auburn, though. Missing on Green stings a little, but it won't cripple Auburn at the RB position. As things currently stand, Auburn has depth, that is mostly unproven, at the RB position.
Top JUCO RB Cameron Artis-Payne committed to Auburn and has already enrolled in classes. He will take part in Auburn's spring practice in just a couple of months. Along with Artis-Payne, the Tigers still have RBs Tre Mason, Mike Blakely and Corey Grant.
Artis-Payne will likely be used as more of a power back in Malzahn's offense, much like Ben Tate and Mike Dyer were in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Mason was thrust into the role of Auburn's featured back in 2012 and responded by having a 1,000-yard rushing season. Mason proved the doubters who said his size would not allow him to run between the tackles wrong.
Blakely showed tremendous potential in 2012. He was Auburn's leading rusher in Week 2 against Mississippi State. Blakely spent a lot of time in former head coach Gene Chizik's doghouse after a costly fumble against Louisiana-Monroe in Week 3.
Alabama transfer and Opelika, AL native Corey Grant gave Auburn fans high hopes after his performance in last year's spring game. When the regular season rolled around, Grant did not see any meaningful snaps at the RB position.
Just because Auburn whiffed on signing Derrick Green and has depth, it does not mean that the Tigers are done recruiting at the RB position. Ideally, Auburn will sign two more RBs in the 2013 class, in addition to Artis-Payne.
Decommitted from AU.... Thanks for all the love from the fans but I have to do what's best for me.— Jordan Wilkins (@jordanwilkins2) January 21, 2013
Auburn lost the commitment of 4-star RB Jordan Wilkins in what was more of a mutual break-up.
The Auburn coaching staff is after a pair of Notre Dame RB commits, Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant. Folston took an official visit to Auburn on the weekend of Jan. 19. Auburn coaches are working to secure a visit from Bryant.
Another player at the RB position to keep an eye on is Ole Miss commit Peyton Barber. Barber has an Auburn offer and took an unofficial visit on Jan. 5.
Auburn may try to put some pressure on Alabama commitment, 4-star Alltee Tenpenny. He is an Arkansas native and Auburn TE coach Tim Horton was his lead recruiter for the Razorbacks when Horton was on staff in Fayetteville.
Another Alabama commitment that Auburn may pursue is RB Tyren Jones. Jones holds an Auburn offer and was recruited by Rodney Gardner to UGA when Gardner was recruiting coordinator for the Bulldogs.
Although Auburn would have loved to have gained the commitment of Green, the swing-and-miss is not crippling to the RB position. It should be fun to watch how Auburn responds leading up to national signing day with as many options as it has.