Auburn Football: Auburn Loses Dee Liner, Still Wins National Signing Day
Just like his hurry-up offense, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn had his first recruiting class signed up and ready to go in a hurry on national signing day. All of Auburn's commitments were signed by mid-afternoon on Wednesday.
The class did not lack in quality, either. At the time of publishing, Auburn sat at No.10 in the 247sports composite national team rankings.
That is a remarkable achievement when you consider that Auburn had fallen as low as No. 28 in the rankings of various recruiting services after the dismissal of former head coach Gene Chizik and the entire coaching staff in late November.
Malzahn only had two months to build a coaching staff and recruit his first class.
Auburn missed on a couple of targets, such as defensive lineman Dee Liner and cornerback Mackensie Alexander, but national signing day was undoubtedly a big win for Malzahn and the Tigers.
Auburn filled positions of need like defensive line and running back with some flips and big time commitments.
The day started off on a high note when 5-star DE Elijah Daniel flipped his commitment from Ole Miss and sent his national letter of intent to Auburn.
That was just the start of a big day for Auburn and defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who must be chomping at the bit to coach the talent that committed to the Tigers on Wednesday.
Along with Daniel, Garner will coach two other big names (and bodies) on Auburn's defensive line next fall.
Top-rated, 5-star DE Carl Lawson reaffirmed his commitment to Auburn last weekend. The 6'2", 250-pounder promised a big finish for Auburn's recruiting class.
Message from Carl Lawson he wanted shared: "AU is going to finish this class 10 times better than anyone will imagine. That's a promise."— Justin Hokanson (@JHokanson) February 4, 2013
He wasn't joking.
Auburn beat out Clemson for DT Montravius Adams, who announced his plans to play for the Tigers on ESPNU's national signing day special. When Adams inked his name to Auburn, it became the third time in four years that Auburn had signed the top defensive tackle out of the state of Georgia.
Auburn DTs Jefferey Whitaker (2010) and Gabe Wright (2011) also held that title.
With Auburn's trouble on the defensive front the past two years, signing Daniels, Lawson and Adams was the biggest achievement of the day for the Tigers.
I don't think Auburn fans will lose any sleep over losing Liner to Alabama with the monstrous defensive line class that signed with Auburn.
With RBs Onterio McCalebb graduating and Mike Blakely deciding to move elsewhere, Auburn also needed to add some bodies at the running back position. It added three in the 2013 recruiting class.
Top JUCO RB Cameron Artis-Payne signed with Auburn and is already enrolled.
Auburn flipped another Ole Miss commitment in Peyton Barber and landed a commitment from Jonathan Ford. Ford chose Auburn over Tennessee.
With RBs Tre Mason and Corey Grant, as well as FB Jay Prosch, Auburn should be OK depth-wise when fall camp begins in August.
Auburn will get some help on the offensive line this fall from guard Deon Mix. He flipped his commitment from Mississippi State to the Tigers. Guard was a spot on the offensive line that was getting thin after the departure of Christian Westerman to Arizona State.
The Auburn coaching staff also did a great job of hanging onto commitments from elite prospects like QB Jeremy Johnson, LB Cameron Toney, et al.
Malzahn will hold a press conference at 4:00 p.m. EST to talk about the newest players that will wear orange and blue next fall. You can watch it on AuburnTigers.com.
Malzahn hasn't coached a game yet for Auburn, but he got his first big win as the Tigers' head coach on Wednesday.
With what he and his staff accomplished on the recruiting trail for Auburn in just two months, it will be interesting to see how the class of 2014 stacks up when the staff has an entire recruiting year.
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