Athletic Jake Holland has offers from all over the country, but has picked the Tigers.
"I just had the feeling that it was the right place for me," Holland tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "The people there are just great people. They are honest and straightforward. Coach Chiz (Gene Chizik) is a great guy.
"I got to know him and coach (Bobby) Thigpen, coach (Phillip) Lolley and coach (Ted) Roof real well. I have a great relationship with those guys. Everybody is on the same page there. It's like being at home. I just wanted to commit early so now I can help them recruit one of the best classes in the SEC."
Up to a dozen offers including Colorado, Duke, Kansas State, Ole Miss, Stanford, UCLA and others, Holland had his choice of a variety of destinations, but the combination of Auburn's family atmosphere and the chance to play for Gene Chizik was something he says he couldn't pass up.
"It was one of the things that helped me make my commitment," Holland says. "I got to know them real well. They're all great people and it's family oriented. When you go there you feel like you are at home, like you're part of a family. It's just a great thing."
In addition to the atmosphere created by Chizik and his staff, Holland says that playing for a coach who had so much success as a defensive coordinator in his career just made everything fall into place. The coordinator for back-to-back perfect seasons at Auburn and Texas, Chizik has the reputation as a superb defensive coach and Holland notes that's nice to know as a defensive guy himself.
"That was one of the factors that helped me make my decision," Holland says. "Whenever you have a head coach who is defensive-oriented, that's always a great thing as a defensive player. He's always taking care of the defense. Don't get me wrong, he's taking care of the offense too, but he's involved in the defense and I like that he's a defensive-minded guy."
A visitor to Auburn on junior day last month, Holland made the trip back to the Plains on Thursday to check out a practice and take another look at the campus and visit with the coaching staff.
Recently timed at 4.56 in the 40-yard dash, Holland has improved his bench press to 340 pounds and is a tireless worker in the weight room according to coaches at Pelham. As a junior he had a huge season for Pelham's defense with 129 tackles, including 74 solos.
Also a very good student, Holland has plans to major in either building science or engineering at Auburn.