Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers have received their first 2014 commitment, as 4-star running back Kamryn Pettway, a former Florida State commitment, has verbally pledged to the Tigers.
Pettway is a big-time commitment for the Tigers in many ways, and stealing him away from Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles has to feel pretty good for Malzahn and his staff. Florida State is without a doubt one of the bigger recruiting draws in the country under Fisher, so landing Pettway is yet another indication that Malzahn belongs amongst the best of the best recruiters in the nation.
Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com reports on the commitment:
Pettway visited Auburn's Junior Day last weekend and visited again on Sunday. His last visit sealed the deal.
"After I came for another visit, I loved the experience. I like the coaches, I feel very comfortable and it's close to home. I grew up an Auburn fan. I can stay close to home and play in the SEC," said Pettway.
"It feels awesome to be the first commitment in the new class. I can help bring in more recruits."
Pettway was formerly committed to Florida State before decommitting last week.
What, exactly, does Pettway bring to Auburn as a commitment?
The first factor is somewhat obvious, but it's an extremely important point to consider: Now that Auburn has landed one top-notch commitment, others are soon to follow.
He is a highly-ranked in-state recruit—ranked as the No. 16 player from the state of Alabama, according to the 247Sports composite rankings—and like he said, per Hokanson's report, he'll be able to help bring in other recruits.
I've said it time and time again, but it remains true every time: Talent begets talent, and where one elite player goes, others tend to follow. Landing Pettway's commitment is a great way for Auburn to start off the 2014 cycle.
Pettway also brings a lot to Auburn as a football player.
He has tremendous size 6'0'', 224 pounds, and he has all the makings of a true power back. He'll be very tough to take down because of his size alone, but he combines that with good agility, vision and footwork.
Pettway is very much so a momentum runner, meaning that once he hits the hole and picks up a head of steam, he'll be tough to tackle, even at the SEC level. He has the ability to lower his shoulder, drive his feet and pick up extra yards, and he should be a go-to runner in the red zone or in short-yardage situations.
Overall, this is a huge pickup for Malzahn and the Tigers. And Auburn is poised to start the 2014 recruiting cycle in the same way it finished 2013: as one of the hottest recruiting programs in the nation.