Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Add a commitment and signing-day thoughts

Auburn picked up its 29th commitment Tuesday, but it appears to be good news/bad news.
Dothan Northview High School linebacker Spencer Pybus picked Auburn over his only other Division I offer, Duke. He's a two-star prospect.
Auburn was expected to take only one linebacker this year, and Auburn fans hoped that it would be Gadsden City's Jerrell Harris. He's considering Auburn, Alabama and Southern Cal.
That Auburn took a commitment from Pybus likely means the coaching staff has reason to believe Harris will go elsewhere. It's also worth noting that Auburn will hold its signing-day news conference at noon Wednesday, two hours before Harris announces his choice.
On the upside for Auburn, there's a case for considering Pybus an underrated recruit. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, he reportedly can run the 40-yard dash in 4.5-4.6 seconds. He returned three interceptions for touchdowns in 2007.
Also, Auburn appears to be in good shape to bring five-star running back Enrique Davis and three-star defensive back George Baker back in the fold. Both decommitted in January.
The Tigers also appear to be in good shape for four-star defensive end Robert Quinn.


Of the potentially 30-plus signees Auburn could have today, several will be sign-and-place guys because of academics. They will end up at prep schools and junior colleges.
A small 2007 senior class means Auburn did not have the NCAA-maximum 25 scholarships to give this year, so they took a lot of sign-and-place commitments.
That and the fact that freshmen and sophomores made up 67 percent of Auburn's 2007 roster ... and many of those guys played significant time ... mean that Auburn's coaching staff could not sell early playing time f0r most positions this year.
That's why this class is a need-based class, not a top overall class. Auburn needed wide receivers, quarterbacks, defensive linemen and defensive backs, and 24 of 29 overall commitments come from players at those positions.
It's part of the natural cycle of college football in the scholarship-limit age. Teams recruit well for two or three years, then cycle down. That's because most top players want to play early.
Auburn recruited well in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and this year's top prep seniors knew that. At most positions, they would have to wait.
Auburn's class still ranks in the top 20: No. 16, according to Rivals.com; and No. 19, according to Scout.com.

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