Auburn Coach Calls Signees a "Great" Class

Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the Tigers' 2005 signing class.

Auburn, Ala.–Coach Tommy Tuberville and his staff put the finishing touches on another solid recruiting class Wednesday with 20 players signing on the dotted line with the Tigers.

The only newcomer to the commitment list from earlier in the week was defensive back Walter McFadden, who signed with Auburn at Ely High in Pompano Beach, Fla. to wrap up the day.

"This year we have 20," Tuberville said. "No matter what happens this is a great class. We have eight from Alabama, three from Georgia, four from Florida, four from Louisiana and one from Texas. We were very proficient in the area of defensive players. We needed some guys in the secondary and defensive line. We signed 12 defensive players, seven offensive players and one kicker. It has been an all-around group that we looked at speed, not really size, but speed, quickness and athletic ability. The main thing is attitude and character that carries over to this football team.

"We built it on a certain type of player that has been successful for us here and we didn't want to change anything up like that. It's not a big group, only 20 players, but we felt like it was the size group to get us to the next level in a few years in some areas. We feel like next year is going to be a very big year in the State of Alabama with the type of athletes we've been looking at the last few years. This will allow us to have a few more scholarships for next year's recruiting class."

Heading up the class is linebacker Tray Blackmon from LaGrange, Ga. The nation's top-rated linebacker, he joins tight ends Tommy Trott and Gabe McKenzie as Auburn's highest-rated players in terms of recruiting services. Tuberville said that he's pleased with the overall make-up of the class and isn't concerned with how it ranks among others around the country.

Tray Blackmon is a linebacker that plays the game at a whole different speed than most every other high school player.

"I don't think there will be any surprises to us, but there are some guys that maybe we evaluated that other people didn't think would be quite as good," Tuberville said. "We do our own evaluations. We don't use any internet services or magazines. We don't worry about national rankings. We want to sign players that win games. Winning games is a heck of a lot more important than recruiting.

"It all starts with recruiting good players and players and guys that are going to be with you for a long time and can play the type of football that your philosophy asks for. Our philosophy is very demanding and the ones that don't fit that bill we don't go after very often. We feel like all of these guys that we signed this year have a chance to help and I think a majority of them will be able to help next year."

Tommy Trott was a huge piece of the 2005 recruiting class.

As always there will be some positions where young players will have a chance to compete immediately for playing time. One of those is at tight end where starter Cooper Wallace returns, but his depth hasn't played up to par so far. That leaves the door open for both Trott and McKenzie to get in the rotation as well as fellow signee Andrew McCain.

"Obviously at tight end Tommy Trott, Gabe McKenzie and Andrew McCain, all those guys will have the opportunity to play for us at tight end," Tuberville said. "Last year we didn't go after that many tight ends and didn't feel like there was one that really fit in with us. This year we needed to go a little bit deeper and not get just one.

"All these guys will have a chance," Tuberville added about the class. "They usually determine themselves and know after two-a-days whether they're going to redshirt or not. The way things are going now, redshirting is looking to be a past art. We're looking for players to help us next year, but we've got a good nucleus coming back. I don't know whether any of these guys will be ready, but it's up to them. As I told them in recruiting, we don't promise anybody other than a chance to come in and play next year. I think all these guys will have a chance."

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