Former All-SEC Player Defends Coaches, Auburn

Kenny Irons, a star player for the Tigers, comments on the Auburn program he and his brother played for under Coach Tommy Tuberville's watch.

Atlanta, Ga.--Former Auburn star running back Kenny Irons said on Wednesday that during his recruitment to Auburn and his time with the Tigers, he saw no improprieties with the AU program that has been accused of misconduct by former players in an HBO Real Sports TV episode scheduled to air for the first time on Wednesday.

"Coach Eddie Gran recruited me to Auburn and everything was straight up through the whole process," Irons told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "The coaches at Auburn didn't offer me any extra benefits to come to Auburn and nobody offered me any extra benefits while I was at Auburn or after I was there."

Gran coached running backs for Coach Tommy Tuberville's staff. Irons originally signed with the South Carolina Gamecocks, but transferred to Auburn where he earned All-SEC honors as a junior in 2005 and as a senior in 2006.

Three former Auburn football players and another player who was recruited by the Tigers but never played for Auburn were among a large group of former Tigers contacted by HBO's Real Sports asking questions about the 2010 national champions and the overall AU program. Troy Reddick, Chaz Ramsey and Stanley McClover, who all played for Tuberville's teams, claimed they received money from boosters in the form of postgame cash for good plays.

Irons said he is highly skeptical of those claims. "Nobody ever did that with me," he said. "In fact, I never saw anybody get handshakes or bags of money except in the movies," he said. "I didn't even hear of that happening with anybody when I was at Auburn."

Kenny Irons was a dynamic runner for the Tigers.

The running back said he has heard talk about the Real Sports show and is disappointed that the AU program he said was on the up and up is being attacked.

David Irons, Sr., the father of Kenny and David Irons, Jr., who was a starting cornerback for the Tigers, confirmed what Kenny said about Auburn's football program.

"Stanley McClover was at Auburn when my sons were there and a lot of stuff gets talked about among friends and illegal benefits was something that never came up," Irons Sr. said. "Stanley thought because he had all of those stats at Auburn he was going to be a first round draft pick and it just didn't happen."

Irons, Sr., added, "I would be insulted if Stanley McClover got offered money and Kenny Irons didn't. When Kenny was choosing between South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia, if that was the case that Auburn was offering money to recruits why wouldn't he be offered money? As you know, Kenny signed with South Carolina, transferred to Auburn and turned out to be a pretty good college football player. An offer of illegal benefits never came.

"After the 2005 season, Kenny wanted to leave and go to the NFL, but I wanted him to stay for his senior season and play with his brother David," Irons Sr. said. "Auburn's coaches knew Kenny was considering going pro. If they had been paying players it would make sense they would have offered Kenny money to stay, especially considering they didn't have a good replacement for him that season, but that stuff didn't happen."

Irons Sr. runs the Georgia Training Alliance, a company that trains high school and professional athletes. Asked if he or either of his sons knew of anything improper going on in the Auburn program, which Irons, Sr., was close to when the brothers played for the Tigers, he said, "Absolutely not. Nobody ever offered us anything."

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