Now back working out and getting healthy, Craig is shooting to be back and full speed in February. Rated as the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver and already a five-star prospect in his class, the lost season hasn’t hurt his rankings, but it did keep him from visiting and making trips during the fall.
That even included Auburn.
A place he has visited numerous times during the past year, Auburn is already a special place for Craig. That is why he’s headed to the Plains this weekend to be part of the first big recruiting weekend for the Tigers.
With a group of highly-regarded prospects expected to visit, including five-stars like CeCe Jefferson and Byron Cowart from Florida along with quarterback Torrance Gibson, Craig said he wants to be there for them and to also get back to the place where he is planning to play college football.
“It’s just the atmosphere and the way they treat me up there,” Craig said of why he likes Auburn. “It’s like when I get up there it’s a whole different atmosphere. It’s a family atmosphere. I just get along with everyone around there from the coaches to the cleanup men. Everyone has a nice, family atmosphere about them.
“I’m going to try to put some things in their heads,” he added about this weekend’s visitors. “I’m going to try to give them some tips here or there and hopefully they can make the right decisions for themselves. Everyone is telling them where to go, but at the end of the day they’ve got to make the right decisions for themselves. I would love for them to be part of the Auburn Tiger family.”
Nate Craig's combination of size, speed and good hands make him an exciting prospect.
Being part of the family is something that Craig especially enjoys because of his relationship with the coaching staff, including Dameyune Craig, Rhett Lashlee and Gus Malzahn. The former Auburn quarterback and current wide receivers coach is someone the talented young receiver has built a strong bond with already and he’s excited about renewing those ties this weekend.
“It’s great for me knowing Coach Craig,” he said. “He is a guy that has been recruiting me ever since my recruiting started. That’s the guy I see eye to eye with. He’s one of my closest coaches that I have been getting recruited by.
“Coach Lashlee is a great coach and doing great things with the offense helping Coach Malzahn,” Craig added. “I just like getting on the phone with them. It just brings joy to me.”
Malzahn, Lashlee and Craig were part of an offensive staff for the Tigers that saw the passing game take off this season under senior Nick Marshall. Throwing for 20 touchdowns and 2,532 yards while completing 60.8 percent of his passes, he took his game to another level in 2014. With Jeremy Johnson expected to take the reins next season Craig sees more of the same for the Tigers.
“It was very exciting to see,” Craig said. “Everyone talked about the running game all the time, but they really opened it up this year. They made a lot of great plays and had a lot of good games. There were some games they could have had, but it all happens for a reason. I think this year coming up will be a breakout year for them.”
Solidly committed to Auburn, but still hearing from top colleges all over the country, Craig said he’s not cutting off contact with other schools as he heads toward his senior season. With the need to make sure his decision is the right one, he adds that he’ll check out others in the coming months to see how they stack up to Auburn.
“It’s still early in the recruiting process for me,” Craig said. “I still have another year to wait until I can sign. I’m still just trying to get out to other schools and allow them the opportunity to recruit me as well.”