A Closer Look at Auburn's Depth Issue

Tim TrollingerCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2009

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Daren Bates #25 and Josh Bynes #17 of the Auburn Tigers celebrate Bynes interception in the final minutes of their 41-30 win over the West Virginia Mountaineers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


While considering recruiting, you need to remember it's one thing to sign a player and another for that player to enroll.

If you have been following AU football, then you’ve heard this before. AU has no depth. But how can that be? AU has consistently had top-20 recruiting classes.

A closer look will reveal why Auburn lacks the depth right now to compete for an SEC championship.

Auburn currently has 74 players on scholarship11 below the NCAA max. Numbers that closely resemble those of a team on academic probation. 

In 2009, Gene Chizik's first year at AU, he signed 28 players. Of the 28 signed, a total of 21 signees have enrolled in school.

The highest-rated player not to enroll was defensive back Taikwon Paige. He failed to academically qualify. Chizik's first recruiting class was ranked 19th nationally, but would be slightly lower due to seven players not qualifying.

In 2008, Tuberville's final recruiting class was ranked 20th. He signed 29 players, of the 29 only 16 remain on the roster. This class included two five-star recruits and four four-star recruits. Only one four-star recruit qualified. It’s safe to say this recruiting class should be ranked well below the 20th position received.

In 2007 Tubberville had the No. 7 recruiting class. Auburn signed 30 recruits including 13 four-star recruits. Seven of those four-star recruits either did not qualify or have left the team for other reasons. This class should be ranked considerably lower.

In 2006, Auburn had the 10th ranked class. Featuring one five-star and fourteen four-star recruits.  Once again four of the 4 star recruits plus the 5 star recruit either failed to qualify or have left the team.

In addition, in 2008 Tubberville's last year, he failed to sign a single top-10 recruit from the state of Alabama. In 2007, he signed four of the top-10. It appears that Tubberville may have quit trying to recruit within his home state this last year.

Contrast that with this yearChizik's first full year on the job. He has received verbal commitments from four of the states top-13 players. He has also shown a real commitment to pursue the country's best players.

With players like five-star Michael Dyer, five-star Marcus Lattimore, and five-star Lache Seastrunk showing real interest in AU, it’s safe to say that Chizik has Auburn's recruiting back on track.

It’s no wonder why the 2009 Auburn Tigers seem to be struggling. They have finally hit the wall. Low recruiting numbers have finally caught up with them. But take heart AU fans help is on the way.