Tigers Win Recruiting Battle For Mississippi Star

Auburn picked up a big commitment Sunday night when this defensive standout pledged to be a Tiger.

Waynesboro, Miss.--One of the top defensive backs in the South made it official Sunday night when he gave a verbal commitment to be an Auburn Tiger. Athletic 6-1 1/2, 193 Steve Gandy from Wayne County High says that in the end his heart just told him Auburn was the place.

"I committed to Auburn," Gandy tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I had been thinking about where I had the best chance to play. I've got a good chance to play at both, but Auburn sold me more about me playing there. I liked Coach Chizik and I enjoyed the players. It's just hard to give up orange and blue."

Something that helped Gandy make his final decision on Sunday afternoon was a Thursday trip to Auburn with his family. Taking the time to get one more look at the university and talk with players, he says was the deal breaker in his decision to be a Tiger.

Gandy is his familiar orange and blue War Eagles shirt from Wayne County High. He says the orange and blue was too tough to give up.

"It helped out a lot because I was going to Ole Miss at that time," Gandy says. "Just being able to spend some time there helped me choose Auburn. All day today (Sunday) something has been saying Auburn, Auburn, Auburn. I was saying ‘I still don't know' but everything was still saying Auburn, Auburn, Auburn. I liked the players a lot when I went over there. They had a real big influence in my decision."

As a senior, the headhunter with sub 4.5 speed finished with more than 150 tackles plus a dozen quarterback sacks from his outside linebacker position. He played a major role for the second season in back-to-back state titles for the War Eagles, who were 14-1 this past season.

Gandy, who also competes in track and tennis at Wayne County, has been interested in the Tigers since a visit to Auburn last summer for a football camp. He says his interest really picked up concerning Auburn when he got a phone call from Coach Don Dunn last spring.

"At the first of spring I was thinking I was going to Ole Miss," Gandy says. "I was going to commit. I didn't want to have any pressure on me. One day I was in the weight room lifting and my coach called me and said an Auburn coach wanted to talk to me. They offered me a full scholarship and that was a dream come true. They were the number one team in the country at the time. I was liking Auburn at the time. It went on from there with other schools, but it was basically Auburn and Ole Miss. The reason I didn't commit to Auburn was because I had to go to Ole Miss. That's why I didn't go to Tennessee because after I went to Ole Miss I knew what it would be down to."

Despite his high school teammate Michael McLaughlin choosing the Tigers just days earlier, Gandy says that it really didn't factor into his decision as many people would suspect. He notes that while they are friends, they aren't close friends. He also admits that it will be good to have a friendly face on the team when he reports for two-a-days over the summer.

Gandy also considered Arizona State, Tennessee and Alabama before narrowing his choice down to Auburn and Ole Miss in late January.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories