Lawrenceville, Ga.--With the Auburn Tigers need at offensive tackle and the addition of new offensive line coach Herb Hand a comfortable one for four-star E.J. Price, this weekend’s official visit to the Plains had all the makings of an important one for the Tigers. Following his time on campus meeting with the coaches and hanging out with players such as former Archer High teammate Kyle Davis, Price said Auburn is very much in the picture as he prepares to make a signing day decision.
“It went great,” Price said of his weekend on the Plains. “I had an excellent visit. I got to talk with Coach (Gus) Malzahn and Coach Hand. He (Hand) is a great personality and a great guy.”
Already being recruited by Hand when he was coaching at Penn State, Price said that made the transition from former AU offensive line coach J.B. Grimes to Hand an easy one as far as Auburn is concerned. Getting to sit down with him on his visit and spend valuable time together, Price said he just has a connection with Hand.
“It was huge,” Price said. “Auburn has been one of my top schools for a while now. I have enjoyed this process. They have definitely been one of my top schools along with some other schools for quite a while. Auburn definitely has stuck out.
“When I heard Coach Grimes was leaving I didn’t really know who they were going to hire, but then they got Coach Hand right away. We already had a pretty good relationship. He’s a very likeable, personable guy. I enjoyed the experience and we’re definitely on the same page. This was a huge weekend for me and he did a great job of explaining to me more about his coaching strategies and how he works.”
In addition to his bond with Hand, Price said having Davis already on campus is a big plus for the Tigers. A player who is expected to make a run at early playing time as a wide receiver next fall, Davis had nothing but positive things to say about Auburn said Price.
“He loves it there,” Price said. “I was looking forward to getting over and visiting with him, just seeing how he was adjusting to the college lifestyle. He loves it. It’s a big enough town where you can have fun, but it’s not too big. Everything is very convenient and close. He just love it all the way around and would definitely love for us to be teammates again.”
Planning to make his decision on signing day, Price said he’ll likely choose between Alabama, Georgia, Auburn and Southern Cal. When that time comes he said there are specific things he has in mind for his future home.
“Education is of course important, but you’re going to get a good education wherever you go,” Price said. “You just have to apply yourself and work hard. In order to fail you have to try to fail. Education is going to be important, but just your relationship with the coaching staff and how I feel with the coaching staff.
“It’s going to be a hard decision. I’m not exactly sure what’s going to be the deciding factor because if I knew it would be decided.”
Now with his Auburn visit in the books and having already tripped to Michigan State, LSU, and Southern Cal and with a possible visit coming next weekend, Price said the Tigers definitely made an impact on him on his last trip to the Plains before signing day.
“It was great,” Price said. “They were already up there, but they are definitely one of my leaders for sure.
“I”m sure everyone knows Shon Coleman and Avery Young both left so there’s an opportunity for me to come in and play early,” he added. “I have a great relationship with Coach Malzahn and Coach Hand. It’s just a great situation overall as far as football. In 2010 they went to the national championship and in 2013. It only makes sense that in 2016 they could definitely make a roll.”
Malzahn has already made his in-home visit with Price, but this week Hand and Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee are expected to make an in-home visit with the talented tackle.