Auburn Joins The Mix For Talented 2011 OT

Talented junior offensive tackle Christian Westerman from Arizona is expected to be one of the top football high school football seniors in the country next season.

Chandler, Ariz.--It's not often that you hear Arizona prep football star and the Auburn Tigers in the same sentence, but that's exactly the case with 2011 standout offensive tackle Christian Westerman from Hamilton High.

A 6-5 1/2, 290 powerhouse already with 18 offers including Oklahoma, Miami, Arkansas, Michigan, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Florida, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Stanford, Oregon State, Washington, California, USC, Florida State, and Northern Arizona, Westerman will soon add number 19 to that list according to his father Chris Westerman as Auburn is expected to join the ranks of offers this week.

"We're thrilled and absolutely excited about hearing from Auburn, the elder Westerman tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "That's a school we've had interest in for quite some time because of all the family ties we have in the South. We've got family there in Auburn and in Alabama and around the Southeast. That's a school we've had our sights on for a while."

While it may seem strange for an Arizona prospect to be looking hard at Auburn, there is a strong reason and that is because he's very familiar with the program.

Westerman's grandparents live on Lake Martin and attend Auburn games regularly. When he's not busy playing football and in school, Westerman makes a month-long visit to Tallapoosa County to the lake and knows a great deal about Auburn and the area. Those are things that play into the family's interest in Coach Gene Chizik's program, but it's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

"Part of our interest in the Southeast is that where Christian chooses to go to school we would probably move close to that area," Westerman says. "We've thought about moving to Alabama for some time now because my wife's parents and her brother and aunts and uncles, we have family all over Florida, Georgia and immediate family in Alabama.

"We want to let Christian be his own guy and go to school and have his own deal, but we want to certainly be in the area where we can support him. Family is very important to us. Our church and Christian faith is very important to us. It's important to keep that together. This isn't to be overbearing or not to give him his space, we just want to be part of his football future."

Westerman is being recruited for Auburn by offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. Familiar with the area that Westerman currently plays in after working at Arizona State, Grimes hit home with the Westerman's talking about not only the current state of the program, but also about life in the SEC.

"He's a nice guy," Westerman says of Grimes. "I like what he said and his attitude about where this team is going. He was really optimistic about the future of the team and also realistic about the fact that they've got five or six pretty good offensive linemen right now that are great players, but they're going to be graduating. He said behind that class there is a lot of need. He said he foresaw Christian being an impact guy very soon on the next level.

"He also said there is nothing like SEC football and I agree with him," he adds. "We know that's the toughest, most dominant conference in the nation and that's coming from a Cal guy. We were very stoked and excited to finally talk to him and he said they were sending an offer. That was super exciting."

With Andrew McCain's eligibility up after this season and the other four starters all seniors next season up front as well as top back up Bart Eddins, the need for offensive linemen will be great in 2011 for the Tigers. Westerman says that's one of the things that his son will definitely take into account when looking for a school.

"I definitely think Christian wants to play as soon as possible," Westerman says. "He wants to go somewhere he can make an impact. When you look around at a Florida or a USC and some of the other schools that have offered him, they've been a real hotbed for recruiting and that's great.

"But for a kid to come in and really make a difference and make an impact and be part of a change in direction, which I think Auburn is going to have over the next few years. This is only the staff's first year. I think it's real important to Christian and our family that he can get in and be an impact guy. I think that's a huge advantage that Auburn has. With Auburn we feel like it's just the beginning and they're on an upswing of growth. Christian could come in and be an impact kid and help turn the program on an upswing that could last for the next five or 10 years."

Christian Westerman

Because of the interest in Auburn the chance to visit the Plains is something that Westerman says Christian is looking forward to. They've been extended an invitation to make an unofficial visit in two weeks for the Iron Bowl, but there is a good chance they won't make it because Hamilton just finished up a perfect 10-0 regular season and his heading into the playoffs as one of the favorites.

If they are unable to make it Westerman said the plans are for Christian and the entire family to make a vacation out of a visit and spend time on Lake Martin in addition to checking out the Auburn campus next summer.

"We may all come as a family and visit my wife's parents and family," Westerman says. "Then we're going to come down and spend a day or two in Auburn. We want to tour the campus and visit with the coaches and meet Coach Chizik, hopefully, and Coach Grimes in person--just spend some time seeing the area. That's definitely in the cards right now."

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