1984 Class The Benchmark For AU Recruiting

Auburn's goal in recruiting is always for success on the field and a class signed by Pat Dye in 1980s is one of the all-time best.

Auburn, Ala.--Currently ranked fifth in the Scout.com 2010 recruiting rankings, the Auburn Tigers are on the way to what could be one of the top classes in recent AU history under first-year head coach Gene Chizik.

With several top-ranked players still on the board, including running back Marcus Lattimore and defensive linemen Corey Lemonier, Jeffrey Whitaker and Byran Jones, Auburn could take in a haul reminiscent of some of the glory days under Coach Pat Dye.

With that in mind we decided to take a look back at one of the top classes in school history. Coming off an SEC Championship season and 11-1 finish in 1983, Auburn was looking for help on both sides of the football and Dye got that with a very strong class featuring three players who became All-Americans at Auburn and eight players who saw time in the NFL out of a group of 27 signees.

The strength of the class came up front on defense as Tracy Rocker, Ron Stallworth and Nate Hill were all a part of the class and all ended up playing in the NFL. Currently, Auburn's defensive line coach, Rocker is considered the top defensive lineman in school history and one of the best ever to play in the SEC after winning both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award in 1988.

That year Auburn also signed seven of the top eight players in the state, according to the "Birmingham Post-Herald," led by offensive lineman Jim Thompson from Enterprise and wide receiver Freddy Weygand from Gadsden. Weygand was also named the top prospect in the country by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an honor also bestowed on Stallworth by USA Today and Parade Magazine.

Weygand had a huge senior season for Emma Sansom High as he caught 80 passes for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also picked off an incredible 15 passes as a defensive back and returned four kicks for touchdowns.

Another of the top performers from Alabama was Rodney Garner from Leeds. A defensive line prospect coming out of high school, Garner went on to star on the offensive line for the Tigers before moving into coaching. He's now with the Georgia Bulldogs, oddly enough as a defensive line coach.

Among the other notable names in the class are defensive back Luvell Bivins, wide receiver Duke Donaldson, offensive lineman Stacy Dunn, linebacker Smokey Hodge, offensive lineman Vincent Jones, defensive back Kevin Porter, tight end Walter Reeves, tight end Lee Mark Sellers, defensive end Brian Smith, running back Curtis Stewart and fullback Reggie Ware.

While other classes have come close, no recruiting class in the modern era of Auburn football with limited scholarship numbers can match the production that came from the 1984 group. That is the challenge for Auburn's newest signing class that will come together officially on Feb. 3. Production is the name of the game when it comes to recruiting. The Tigers are on the way to a class that could eventually challenge 1984's numbers if things fall into place in the coming weeks and coming years. If that happens it will mean very good news for Chizik and Auburn football.

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