Jason Caldwell Of Inside the Auburn Tigers Answers Questions About Auburn Football Recruiting Prior to National Signing Day

Football recruiting is featured in a special edition of Jason Caldwell's mailbag column on Auburn sports.

TexasTiger02: Jason. I'm going to be pretty interested in seeing if we can flip either legacy player from Tennessee or bammer. That would be pretty grand in my opinion. The only problem is I just don't see it happening. So... Why do coaches spend time at the end of recruiting, the most valuable time in my opinion, trying for what most people see as long shots? Why not spend the time earlier finding players close to what they are currently now hoping for? Because if we miss on those two and Brown... well…

This group of defensive coaches only had a few weeks to recruit so much of the work that was done by Will Muschamp and company was basically thrown away when they moved on. They put a ton of time into guys like Jamel Cook, Keir Thomas, etc., guys that didn’t really build a bond with the entire staff. That meant once Kevin Steele and company got on board they had to focus on a smaller group of guys and recruit them harder. I don’t fault them at all and when you’re talking about guys like Ben Davis and Nigel Warrior I’ll recruit guys like that every day of the week.



gtwstock: What is the smallest NSD class we've had since you've been covering Auburn Tigers?  Since we have so many early enrollees, will this be the smallest collection of signatures on signing day in recent memory?

The 2012 class only had 21 players in it. That’s about as small as I can remember. This group should be a little bigger than that.



TexasTiger02: We heard that one of the recruits (who will probably sign with FSU) said that his best visit was Tennessee. What did UT do that set them aside in the recruits mind to actually say that?

It all depends on the individual. Some recruits say their best visit was to Auburn when they had a chance to go fishing. Some would rather have lobster like Willie Williams. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.



TexasTiger02: Jason. Why do bammer recruits not do their homework and due diligence year after year and not see 1) Their depth chart at RB or LB? 2) bammers history of offering grey shirt offers late, recruiting players to keep them from going to other programs, processing players? At this point are the parents of these recruits naive, un-educated, lied to, etc? !

That’s just the way it goes. Alabama has it rolling right now and when you’re recruiting top players they don’t care who is in front of them because they believe they’re good enough to earn playing time. As for the greyshirt offers, etc., that’s just part of life in this state.



TexasTiger02: Jason. Besides Thompson last year at UGA and the DT out of McEachern plus a few others. Do you agree that UGA's depth at DT is actually worse than our depth. Meaning d-line recruits have a better chance of playing time at UGA?

They don’t have a ton of defensive line depth, particularly at tackle. Auburn has some depth to work with next season, but when you think about 2017 Auburn has just Dontavius Russell, Antwuan Jackson and Jauntavius Johnson as true defensive tackles. That’s it.

 

TexasTiger02: Jason. If we get this great WR recruiting class that we may indeed get. Who do you think will be the gun slinger getting them the ball during their career on the plains?

I think John Franklin can throw the ball much, much better than people might think. He’s got an extremely strong arm. After that I expect Woody Barrett to be a player very similar to Dak Prescott and he was able to get guys to football with regularity.



wtbtiger: Which recruit would surprise you the most if the signed with AU. Which recruit would surprised you the most if they flipped away from AU?

Of the guys that Auburn is still in the picture with I would probably say E.J. Price would be the most surprising to sign with Auburn. I think he’s headed elsewhere and wouldn’t be shocked of it as USC. As for the guy I would be most surprised if they flipped away that’s really tough to answer, but I would go with a guy like Marquis McClain.

Jason Caldwell

Marquis McClain is a wide receiver from Crestview, Fla., High School.

TexasTiger02: Jason. DB Coach McGriff seems to be a big time recruiter being able to turn heads really late in the process. We seem to have a very passionate recruiter in Travis Williams at LB coach. D. Craig seems to be doing an outstanding job at WR recruiting. Who in your opinion are you most excited about right now as an Auburn recruiter?

It’s hard to beat Crimedog (McGriff) right now. The guy just gets it done on the recruiting trail. I do think Travis Williams is going to make some big waves with linebacker recruiting in the 2017 class.



TexasTiger02: Jason. Do you believe both RB'S that Auburn will hopefully bring in for the 2017 class will be 4 stars or better?

I would imagine Auburn will be able to recruit some pretty good running backs in next year’s class. They already have a four-star guy in Alaric Williams and plenty of other top guys will definitely look at the Tigers.



dagwood85: These two questions are related to the newest type of recruiting: post grad transfers.

Do you see Auburn trying to get a post grad QB (perhaps Taysom Hill from BYU or Chad Voytik from Pitt?) Is there serious Auburn interest in the post grad offensive tackle Tyler Catalina from Rhode Island?

I think Auburn would like to hold at least one scholarship for a possible post-grad guy, but if you can sign the big names still on the board in this class then you take them. As for a quarterback, that probably depends on how things go in spring practice. As for Tyler Catalina, I think Auburn wants to see him, but he doesn’t have an offer yet.



TexasTiger02: Jason. Do you think Ben Davis is waiting to see where L. Wilson is going before he announces? Do you think he is looking at bammers depth?

I don’t think Ben Davis is waiting on anyone. I believe he’s still trying to decide where he wants to go and is probably being very deliberate about it.

Jason Caldwell | Inside the Auburn Tigers

Ben Davis is a five-star linebacker prospect from Gordo High.

WDE83: I'm curious about recruiting costs.  Assuming AU signs 25 on Wednesday, what is the investment per recruit, roughly?

It changes from year to year and with so many recruiting trips that are split between three or four guys while on the road there’s really no way to get it down to an individual number. Auburn is a school that spends a lot on recruiting, probably up there with the other top programs in the country.



aunatchamps: Jason thanks so much from all of us in the ITAT family for what you and Mark do. It gives us a lot of entertainment. Since Auburn has a nice dorm and eating facility for the athletes, what is the next step we need to take or build, to keep up with the rest of the SEC West to entice top recruits to come to Auburn?

Right now I think Auburn needs to upgrade the stadium amenities for the players such as locker room, training rooms, etc. Those are the areas that are behind some schools in the league. The things being talked about for the expansion would be a great step towards fixing many of those problems because right now it’s old and worn down in most areas underneath the stadium. The locker room is nice, but isn’t nearly big enough for what Auburn should have.



tunicatiger: Jason, regardless of where he signs which kid did you most enjoy interviewing and why?

In this class there are several guys, but Ben Davis is one that has been great to me and Scout. He’s always willing to talk and that’s a rarity for a top player. As for a guy on campus Landon Rice is as good as gold. He’s going to be a fun player to watch as he develops at tight end.



TigerTN: In your time covering Auburn, who do you think was the most underrated recruit Auburn has gotten?

Two guys come to mind for me and they are Dontarrious Thomas and Courtney Taylor. Both were talented athletes from small schools who flourished at Auburn because of hard work and athleticism. I think those two guys probably outplayed rankings as much as anyone with Sen’Derrick Marks also in the mix.



aliasau: With all the new money flowing in from the SEC network, it is my belief that the Mississippi schools have benefited the most with major upgrades in facilities. This obviously helps in recruiting. What are your thoughts on the impact of all this "new money" on recruiting?

I think the SEC Network has probably helped a little, but having success and fan bases that are extremely loyal have benefited both Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Also having athletic directors who have pushed things to the max in stadium upgrades, etc. has put them on the different playing field literally.



settindown: If we miss out on all the final guys - Brown, Warrior, Davis, Price, and Sammons - do we stay with a class of about 20 or do we move to a Plan B or 2?

You’ve got guys like Nate Craig, Jayvaughn Myers, Stephen Davis Jr.. etc. who are very good players and wouldn’t be considered plan B guys at all. There are plenty of options in this class and no reason to think the Tigers won’t get to 21 or 22.


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