Auburn Football: Gus Malzahn Deserves Credit for Tigers' Recruiting Class

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IFebruary 11, 2013

Dec 1, 2012; Jonesboro, AR, USA; Arkansas State Red Wolves head coach Gus Malzahn during the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at ASU Stadium. Arkansas State defeated Middle Tennessee 45-0. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

It was inevitable that Auburn would lose some top recruits in 2013 after the firing of Gene Chizik, but you have to give Gus Malzahn a lot of credit for the class he put together regardless.

While the Tigers lost 5-star linebacker Reuben Foster, 4-star defensive tackle Dee Liner and 4-star linebacker Trey Johnson, they were able to keep 5-star defensive end Carl Lawson and land 5-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams on national signing day. As a result, Auburn walked away with the No. 11 recruiting class in the nation, according to 247Sports.

Malzahn, who led Arkansas State to a 9-3 record in 2011-2012, should not only be commended for the relationships he built with the incoming class at Auburn this year, he should also be praised for his hiring of former Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner in December.

Garner, who spent the past 15 seasons coaching at Georgia, knows Adams well and may have been the main reason Adams spurned the Bulldogs for the Tigers.

Adams said after his official visit to Auburn in February, via ESPN:

The Auburn official went pretty good. It was weird seeing Coach [Rodney] Garner because I am used to seeing him red and black with a G on his shirt. Now he has AU on there instead, and he wants me to be a Tiger instead of a Bulldog. He told me Auburn was the place to be, and that I could come right in and play. 

Part of being a strong recruiter is surrounding yourself with the right people. Malzahn not only connected personally with some top recruits, his hiring of Garner may have single-handedly helped Auburn land a 5-star defensive tackle in Adams.

After a disastrous 3-9 campaign that ended in a 49-0 embarrassment at the hands of rival Alabama, Auburn has the potential to get back on track as soon as 2013. In the end, hiring Malzahn may have been the best thing the Tigers could have done.


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