Taylor: Character, Talent Points Of Emphasis

Auburn assistant Trooper Taylor talks about recruiting for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--With a new coaching staff in place, Auburn fans got a preview of where recruiting is heading with Gene Chizik and company as the Tigers finished 15th in Scout.com recruiting rankings for 2009 with the possibility of adding at least one more player before the classes is done.

Adding talented players from as far away as Texas, Auburn's recruiting base expanded in the short time Chizik's staff had before signing day. One of the people responsible for that is wide receiver coach Trooper Taylor. Recruiting Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and even Georgia for players, Taylor said that was just the tip of the iceberg for Auburn's recruiting under Chizik.

"The thing you're going to see from us, I don't care who's recruiting him," Taylor said. "I don't care if the Dallas Cowboys are recruiting him. If he's got a momma and family and he's got some values to him, we're going after him no matter what state he's in. We're going to take care of our home state I can promise you that.

"All those coaches will be called and we're going to find every kid we can in the state, but we're also going to venture out, too. We're going to try to get the best players in the country. I have figured out a long time ago that I'm a better coach when I've got better players. I'm going to try to get the best players that are out there at every position."

Taylor said that the staff hasn't been divided up into recruiting areas yet and even when that happens things will be different under Chizik's watch. For one the Tigers will go into areas that haven't necessarily been fertile recruiting grounds for Auburn in the past and second Taylor said they'll go in with the knowledge of what every coach is looking for at every position.

"A lot of coaches want you to recruit the position that you coach or the area you've just been working the whole time," Taylor said. "We're not going to do that. No matter how many people have offered him or the university of so and so may be in his backyard. If he can play and he's got the right character then we're going after him. He's going to have to tell us no more than once.

"I think the other thing we do a good job of is we watch tape together," Taylor added. "I want to know what Ted Roof is looking for when he's looking for a linebacker? What's Tracy (Rocker) looking for when he's looking for a defensive lineman? At most places the offense watches their players and the defense watches theirs. If I'm going to recruit a defensive player in my area I better know what he's looking for. I think those things are important. We've really put the egos in our pocket to do those things."

Talent is always a priority when looking for players on the road and Taylor said that's not going to be a question mark as far as Auburn's recruiting. One thing he said they won't skimp on though is character because the players they recruit will be the players they play with and virtually live with for their careers on the Plains.

"I don't want somebody over at my house that is going to be around my 12-year old son and my 10-year old daughter that is being disrespectful," Taylor said. "Or having to clap the whole time he's in there because if he's not he's stealing something. I don't want that and Gene is the same way. He wants good character kids that we can win with, but at the same time we want good players."

Coaching Auburn's wide receivers, Taylor said that he's had a chance to watch some film of the returning players for the Tigers. He pointed out Montez Billings, Quindarius Carr and Tim Hawthorne as guys that stood out to him on video. He did add that everything will be wide open in the spring and what someone gets they'll have to earn.

The same thing holds true of the incoming freshmen at the position for the Tigers. Signing former LSU signee DeAngelo Benton and Texas standout Emory Blake on signing day in addition to commitments Travante Stallworth, Anthony Gulley and LaVoyd James, Taylor said Auburn got a group that could help them right away if they put in the time and effort during fall practice.

"I knew his (Benton) coaches well and when we were recruiting another kid from his school I saw him working out," Taylor said. "I was like, is that (Benton) and he said yes that he was going back to this school (LSU). I said let's see if we can do something about that. That's when I saw him. He's a playmaker. I'll tell you this, you don't go to sleep a circle and wake up a square. If he can play ball, he can play ball. That's the one thing I saw on the kid.

Trooper Taylor coached receivers at Oklahoma State last season.

"Emory was a kid at Oklahoma State we were recruiting as well. Coach Malzahn had been recruiting him at Tulsa because he knew what he was looking for in this offense…he knew what he wanted, the pieces to the puzzle. That was a good fit for us, too.

"Travante Stallworth and Gulley are both the same type of players. They are both speed guys that fit coach's offense. They can catch bubble screens and run reverses, just getting the ball to them in space. I can promise you, they can make you miss. You'll have a hard time tackling those two boys.

"With LaVoyd, he can be what Gus calls a three-back. Which is a hybrid deal. He may get a direct snap in the Wildcat deal like they did with (Darren) McFadden. He may not spend as much time in my room as he will with Lupe. There's a lot of things he'll be able to bring to the table."

With the staff already working on 2010 recruiting, Taylor said many top juniors from around the country have expressed interest in the Tigers. With A-Day a time when many visit the campus, Taylor said April 18 is day to mark on the calendars for Auburn fans.

"I know they need to show up for A-Day," Taylor said. "The fans are always wanting to know what they can do, support. The more you do that, because there will be some top recruits here that day and some top recruits on campus being shown around. If we go and there is only 10,000 at the game that won't look very good for recruits. That kind of support is huge and that's the way fans and alums can help us out and show your support. We're yours whether you want us or not right now."


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