Head Coach Likes 2006 Football Signees

Tommy Tuberville gives his take on Auburn's 2006 signee class.

Auburn, Ala.--Headlined by a strong in-state class, head coach Tommy Tuberville says that National Signing Day was "a good day for the Auburn Tigers."

Out of 25 recruits who signed with Auburn 10 were from in-state in a year with lots of talent in Alabama.

"The past couple of years a lot of people have said, ‘Why didn't we sign more in the state of Alabama?'" Tuberville says. "We always try and we work hard at it. Sometimes there aren't the numbers at the positions we try to recruit in this state, but the state of Alabama is our first priority.

"This year we had a good year and we had a lot of response from not just certain parts of the state, but all over the state," he adds. "There were some hard recruiting battles but we got our share and we feel like all of these guys will pay dividends for us, not just playing football on the field but recruiting in the future in some of the areas that we have not touched."

The priorities in the signing class were at receiver where the Tigers signed four--Tim Hawthorne, Chris Slaughter, Terrell Zachery and Alex Rose--and on both the offensive and defensive line. Tuberville says that some of the young receivers will have a chance for early playing time and adds that the line class is one of his best.

"I always look at the number of linemen that we sign," he says. "We signed 11 (total) and eight defensive linemen. That might be a record for us. I always judge our recruiting by our linemen. I think this has been an exceptional year. We have a lot of guys that have size and a lot of speed and quickness."

Lee Tilley

One of the more highly recruited linemen in the class was Lee Tilley, a rare signee from the state of Ohio. Another blue-chipper of the group was running back Ben Tate of Maryland. Tuberville says that everything his team has accomplished in the last two seasons has translated into national publicity and the pick up of guys from states that Auburn normally doesn't recruit.

"A product of the 2004 undefeated season," he says of Tilley and Tate. "A couple of these guys, Ben Tate, who is on campus working out with us. He's in our workouts and going to school. Ben came last year to camp because of what Carnell (Carnell Williams), Ronnie (Ronnie Brown) and Rudi Johnson and those guys have meant to the program.

"Those guys have opened some gates for us in other states," Tuberville adds. "Lee Tilley the same way--watching Marcus McNeill play and Kendall Simmons, who is playing in the Super Bowl this week."

In recent years Tuberville and his staff have made a point to recruit student/athletes who excel on and off the field. With the APR rules placed in effect by the NCAA, which should continue to grow tougher, Tuberville says that more teams are starting to target the same type of prospects which is making recruiting more of a struggle.

"A lot of the guys we were recruiting, everybody was recruiting them," he says. "The new APR has taken effect. We've noticed that over the last couple of years."

"Everybody is looking for the same players and the same type of players with character and attitude (because of the APR)," he adds. "It's pretty much turned into a war, so to speak, as you get into January. We feel like we got the guys we need to help us to win championships."

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