The Auburn Tigers are in a hard transition point as the Gus Malzahn regime takes hold over the Plains. Auburn was on a roll recruiting under Gene Chizik, and Malzahn is hoping to continue that trend with the 2013 class.
There was a drop off that occurred with the coaching change, but Malzahn has plenty of selling points to pull from to help get top talent back in the fold for the Tigers in the future.
Right now, playing time will be abundantly available at specific positions, there is a Heisman-winning tradition and the Tigers have been national title winners within the past five years. Auburn is a place that can return to dominance with the right players and coaches.
Here is a look at the tools this staff will use to bring elite talent to the Plains.
The Tigers are facing a lot of change with the new coaching staff, but there will be some similarities to be found. One thing that won’t change is the open competition mentality that has ruled the team over the past few years.
Auburn is in no position to name a starter anywhere after last season. There needs to be a wholesale re-evaluation of talent that is on roster, and the incoming recruits need to know that they will be a part of the search for starters. The Tigers can’t afford another 3-9 season.
Certain positions will have immediate openings because of scheme change and departing seniors. Safety, linebacker and receiver are a few.
There have been a number of JUCO players added to the fold this season, showing that playing time is a selling point for this staff. There are holes, but they will be filled in short order.
The Tigers are just three years removed from their national title season as they head into the new year. Having won a title recently enough for recruits to remember is huge.
Having one of the coaches credited with the undefeated season now running the program is an added bonus. Gus Malzahn can look new recruits in the eye and tell them he knows how to get to the national title game and mean it.
This program took a massive dive in 2012, but the return to the top can be just as quick as it was in 2010. The Tigers have a talented roster—they just need proper coaching and a few key elements to be added to the talent pool.
This has been an interesting transition for the program, but having a coach that is familiar with the tradition and winning pedigree is huge.
The Auburn Tigers have the distinction of being the only team ever to be coached by John Heisman and to have a winner of the trophy that bears his name. In fact, Auburn has three such winners.
Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Cam Newton have all won the Heisman Trophy while playing for the Auburn Tigers. Sullivan brought home the Tigers' first Heisman in 1971, Jackson won in 1985 and Newton won in 2010.
Auburn has a road on campus named Heisman Drive thanks to the tradition that the Tigers program carries surrounding the coach and college football’s most prestigious individual award.
This is an easy selling point to a recruit. Having trophies in the trophy case do more than just gather dust.
Every young football player has dreams to play in the NFL. Gus Malzahn can sell his program as a firm stepping stone to that dream.
Looking around the league, there are 38 Tigers that were on NFL rosters for the 2012 season, with Cam Newton leading the charge as the most well-known Tigers player in the league.
It also helps Malzahn’s cause that he coached a few of the Tigers currently on NFL rosters. The ability to coach up players and place them in the pros is a huge pitch for college coaches.
It is impossible to ignore the ability of the Tigers to funnel talent in the pros.
Gus Malzahn is one of the most innovative minds in college football. He came to the college ranks as an offensive coordinator for Arkansas and brought with him elements of his hurry-up, no-huddle, spread-option scheme.
Malzahn has been one of the major players in the changing face of college football offense over the past decade. There is the Pistol that came from Chris Ault at Nevada in 2004 and the Malzahn spread that came in 2006 to Arkansas that combined to create the Wildcat craze.
Recruits like the flash and excitement of the misdirection and fast scores that come from the Malzahn offense.
There is an instant edge on the recruiting trail that comes with creating your own offense. The "wow" factor of his wizardry is enough to pull in the most elite offensive skill talent the country has to offer.