Toney Remains Strong To Tigers

Auburn commitment Cameron Toney talks about Gus Malzahn and why he chose the Tigers and not a coaching staff.

Huntsville, Ala.—When Gene Chizik and his staff were fired the day after Auburn's loss in the Iron Bowl, the questions surrounding the Tigers' recruiting class immediately began to surface.

While some players talked about taking a step back to rethink their decisions or to take looks at other colleges, linebacker Cameron Toney never wavered.

A talented prospect from Huntsville High who chose Auburn over Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and several others, Toney built very good relationships with the previous staff on the Plains, but said for him his decision was about the school and town and that's how it should be.

"Before I committed I told myself I needed to go somewhere for the school," Toney tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "The coaching staff is irrelevant. You never commit to a coach because they can leave at any time.

"It's a business when it comes down to college football for the coaches," he says. "I just followed my heart and where my heart was at was Auburn. I just like the atmosphere and everything around football there."

Even though he remained solid throughout the nine days between Chizik's firing and Gus Malzahn's hiring as the new head coach, Toney says he didn't get concerned about his future, but he notes that getting the chance to talk to Malzahn in person was big for him to get to know the coach better.

"I talked to Coach Gus this past Thursday," Toney says. "He came to visit me. He seems like a great guy. He actually reminds me of Chizik in some ways. I think he's great for the program and he'll be able to get this thing turned around."

Cameron Toney played for Huntsville High School.

In addition to talking with Malzahn, Toney has had the opportunity to learn more about new defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. A veteran coach that has been a part of stellar defenses at Alabama and South Carolina among his stops, Johnson is someone that Toney notes he is looking forward to getting to play for next season.

"He's a multiple guy and his base is a 4-2-5," Toney points out. "My high school ran that and we ran some 4-3 looks also. It doesn't matter to me as long as I get the opportunity to show who I really am and what I'm about. I'm just going to work hard."

A commitment since the spring, Toney has had the opportunity to get know many of his fellow commitments and build a relationship with them. That is something he says will be helpful in the coming weeks and months as he tries to help hold the recruiting class together for signing day.

Saying that he plans to talk to as many guys as possible over the coming weeks, Toney adds that in the end guys will have to choose Auburn and not a coach because that's the only guarantee you've got in recruiting.

"I'm still recruiting," Toney says. "I'm trying to get the guys that are committed to stay on board. I know for a fact Jeremy Johnson is staying with us. Basically all the offensive guys are like Jason Smith and Earnest Robinson. They are staying because they know Coach Gus since he offered them as sophomores and juniors.

"Some of our defensive guys liked the coaches that were already down there," he points out. "All of the coaches are gone now and they have their eyes and ears open for other schools. That shows me I really don't want those people on my team. You don't come for a coach."

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