Murfreesboro, Tenn.--A four-star athlete who is being recruited to play both sides of the ball from top programs such as Florida State, Georgia, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and Tennessee, Jacoby Stevens was originally committed to Les Miles’ program before deciding to take a second look at his future.
That led him to check out the Auburn Tigers on Saturday to see Gus Malzahn’s program in a spring practice. Getting the chance to talk with the coaches and see what Auburn is all about, Stevens said Auburn made a big impact on him.
“It was my second visit,” Stevens said. “I came down my sophomore year with Jauan (Jennings). I enjoyed it a lot. I got to see them practice and how intense it is. Coach (Gus) Malzahn was effective in the practice and it was intense and upbeat. They actually coached and perfected their techniques. It was pretty nice.”
One of the things that stood out to Stevens was getting the chance to meet Coach Wesley McGriff for the first time and get a feel for him. Known as "Coach Crimedog," McGriff’s personality and ability to relate to his players was something that the talented dual-threat player made the day a fun one for him.
“The majority of the time I spent with him and I just love talking football with him,” Stevens said. “He’s a football guru and I actually picked up some pointers on things that a safety needs to know. He’s just a great guy. He talks about how he can coach you in football and coach you in life, and in my position coach that’s what I’m looking for.
“I also talked to Coach (Rhett) Lashlee and that was awesome,” he added. “He said he would sub me for five plays each game. Me playing both sides of the ball is always something I’ve wanted to do. Auburn giving me that opportunity is really big.”
That give and take with the coaching staff is one thing that Stevens said he likes about Auburn because it carried over to the players. Those are the types of things he said he’s looking for in a school and the Tigers showed that on Saturday.
“It’s just how they are tight-knit,” Stevens said. “Not only is that coach-to-coach, but with the players to. The player-coach relationship is great. When we were in the defensive back meeting the first thing Coach asked was how everybody was doing. They answered and that’s something they go through everyday. They don’t only care about how they do on the field, but how they’re doing off the field. That’s great.”
Saying he’s just working through the process again, Stevens calls himself “wide open” as he prepares to head into the spring. With his second visit to Auburn under his belt this four-star said he plans to be back on the Plains sooner rather than later.
“Auburn is definitely a school I’m coming back to,” Stevens said. “I didn’t know they had Coach Crimedog. Me meeting him, it did them some justice. He’s a great guy and a great coach I think I would like to be around.”