Chris Davis’ miraculous missed field-goal return for a touchdown sent shock waves through the college football world. It changed the national championship picture, the SEC picture and the Heisman picture.
But the ramifications of that play may be felt for a while. The Auburn Tigers—at least for the next year—are the kings of the state of Alabama. The Tigers may also be on their way to being the kings of college football.
And the effects of that could be felt in recruiting.
The Crimson Tide have had the No. 1 class the last three years, according to 247Sports, and their success in recruiting has been a major reason for winning three of the last four national championships.
Over that same time, Auburn has finished 13th in 2013, 11th in 2012 and eighth in 2011.
Saturday’s Iron Bowl was a massive week for recruiting visits for both schools. According to al.com’s Matt Herndon, more than 200 prospects were scheduled to be on hand on official or unofficial visits, many of whom are drawing interest from both Auburn and Alabama.
Among the most notable in-state prospects for the 2014 class, according to al.com’s Matt Scalici, are cornerback Marlon Humphrey and linebacker Rashaan Evans.
Humphrey is expected to choose between Alabama and Florida State, according to his 247Sports profile, but Evans is still up in the air. According to Scalici, if Auburn can get Evans, the Tigers would hold commitments from five of the state’s top seven prospects for the 2014 class.
Currently, Alabama is ranked No. 1 for the 2014 class, according to 247Sports. Auburn sits at No. 9 in coach Gus Malzahn’s first full recruiting class as head coach.
The Tigers’ win could have ripple effects a few years down the road, too. Prospects in the 2015 and 2016 classes are starting to look at schools, and right now they are seeing Auburn on the rise.
247Sports currently has Alabama at No. 2 and Auburn No. 30 for the 2015 class, which is still more than a year away from taking shape.
The flip side, though, is that these recruits have seen the low points of Auburn football, too. Just a year ago, the Tigers finished with a 3-9 record that included an 0-8 mark in the SEC. Alabama, meanwhile, was cementing its status as a dynasty.
While many recruits were growing up, Alabama has been a consistent force in the college football world since head coach Nick Saban’s arrival in Tuscaloosa. Auburn has had its ups, but the downs can’t be ignored either.
But perception is everything, and right now Auburn has the upper hand.