Recruiting Impact of WR Coach Dameyune Craig's Move from Auburn to LSU

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Recruiting Impact of WR Coach Dameyune Craig's Move from Auburn to LSU
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LSU WR coach Dameyune Craig

For the most part, the move of a wide receivers coach within the division would make an impact, but nothing that could cause a seismic shift in the division pecking order. 

Dameyune Craig's move from Auburn to LSU is the exception.

LSU announced Sunday that Craig, the former Auburn quarterback and co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach for Auburn, is taking over as wide receivers coach in Baton Rouge.

"Dameyune is a quarterback by nature so he’s going to be a tremendous asset to us in all phases of the passing game," LSU head coach Les Miles said in a statement emailed by the school. "He coached a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Florida State and developed some outstanding receivers at Auburn."

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn wished Craig the best on the way out the door.

"I want to thank Dameyune for his contributions during the last three years and wish him and his family nothing but the best," Malzahn said in a statement released by Auburn. "We will work quickly to search for his replacement."

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LSU WR coach Dameyune Craig

On the field, this move won't make much of an impact on either team this year. Some commentators might try to spin this as an indictment of Auburn or that LSU is on more stable ground. 

Don't fall into that trap. He's just one piece of the puzzle for both teams, and wins and losses will ultimately decide the fate of Malzahn and Miles.

That's not a knock against Craig the coach. He's a solid position coach, and did some fine work with Auburn's wide receivers and Florida State's quarterbacks over the last half-decade. But neither group of Tigers are going to veer toward a pass-happy offense in 2016, and Malzahn can certainly find a suitable replacement.

On the recruiting trail, though, it could make a huge impact.

Auburn could turn to wide receiver and current Arizona State running backs coach Kodi Burns according to Thayer Evans of Sports IllustratedAs Jim Dunaway of WJOX 94.5 in Birmingham, Alabama, noted on Twitter, that's still a step down for the Tigers. 

Burns would need some time to sharpen his recruiting chops. Craig doesn't.

What's more, LSU doesn't need a ton of help in that department. 

After all, Miles has reeled in top-six classes in the 247Sports composite index in each of the last four seasons, including the third-ranked class in 2016 that featured 5-star defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence and 5-star cornerback Kristian Fulton.

Now, though, LSU could become an even bigger factor on the recruiting trail in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. 

Jameis Winston, who hails from Bessemer, Alabama, right outside of Birmingham, credited Craig for being a big factor in signing with the Seminoles. Winston even thanked Craig directly while accepting the 2013 Heisman Trophy.

"If I wasn't around a bunch of people, I probably would have started crying," Craig said prior to the 2014 BCS National Championship Game. "It was really emotional for me, because he didn't have to do that. That says a lot about him as a person. For him to share the brightest moment of his life with me, meant a lot to me."

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn WR coach Dameyune Craig (right) with former Auburn WR "Duke" Williams

Craig is also responsible for recruiting such stars as wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers, defensive end Chris Casher, linebacker Tre' Williams, wide receiver Kyle Davis, wide receiver Darius Slayton and other stars from Alabama, Georgia and Florida, according to his 247Sports profile.

Craig's move to LSU is a sign to the rest of the SEC that Miles intends to increase his focus on that fertile recruiting ground while also keeping his borders locked down.

What this move does do on top of LSU's recruiting shift to the east is offer a heavy blow to one intradivision recruiting power that has already been stunned by some coaching departures this offseason. 

Auburn lost defensive coordinator and SEC veteran Will Muschamp to South Carolina this December, when "Coach Boom" got the head coaching gig in Columbia. Former defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, a former Auburn player and recruiting guru (especially in the state of Florida), went with him to become the defensive coordinator of the Gamecocks. 

Malzahn still reeled in a solid class in 2016, but it might be more difficult in 2017 with some of his best recruiters—and Auburn graduates—moving within the conference.

Craig's move to LSU doesn't monopolize the recruiting game in the division, though.

Alabama is still the 900-pound gorilla in the room with six straight recruiting national titles, Ole Miss has evolved into a behemoth, Texas A&M still does just fine and Auburn certainly won't fall completely off the table.

But this does tilt that seesaw quite a bit, and Auburn will have a tremendous microscope on it for the next 11 months as a result.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of CFBStats.com, and recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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