There’s something to be said for thinking outside the box. That’s exactly what Gene Chizik and the new Auburn Tiger coaching staff have done in terms of recruiting. First, it was the Tiger Prowl, where the Auburn coaching staff barnstormed the state of Alabama in a stretch limousine over four days during the early part of the May Evaluation Period.
|Big Cat Guest List|
|Here’s a look at some of the top prospects expected to be at Auburn this weekend.|
|DE Ken Adams||Wesson (Miss.) Copiah-Lincoln C.C.|
|CB Ryan Ayers||Douglasville (Ga.) South Paulding|
|ATH Victor Beasley||Adairsville (Ga.) High|
|OT Shon Coleman||Olive Branch (Miss.) High|
|LB Tyrone Cornileus||Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson|
|DE J.C. Copeland||LaGrange (Ga.) Troup|
|LB Jessel Curry||Buford (Ga.) High|
|LB Khairi Fortt||Stamford (Conn.) High|
|WR Antonio Goodwin||Atlanta (Ga.) Washington|
|WR Jake Holland||Pelham (Ala.) High|
|ATH Shaun Kitchens||College Park (Ga.) Banneker|
|RB Marcus Lattimore||Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes|
|OG Eric Mack||St. Matthews (S.C.) Calhoun County|
|CB Jonathan Mincy||Decatur (Ga.) Southwest Dekalb|
|LB LaDarius Owens||Bessemer (Ala.) Jess Lanier|
|WR Trovon Reed||Thibodaux (La.) High|
|WR Jeremy Richardson||Springville (Ala.) High|
|RB Lache Seastrunk||Temple (Texas) High|
|OT James Stone||Nashville (Tenn.) Maplewood|
|LB Nigel Terrell||Pelham (Ala.) High|
|DT Mike Thornton||Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson|
|LB Jawara White||Troy (Ala.) Henderson|
They may have topped that idea with what’s on deck this weekend at Auburn – the inaugural “Big Cat Weekend”. It will be a social weekend on campus that lasts Friday through Sunday. Coming to visit will be many of Auburn’s big-name recruiting targets, including running backs Lache Seastrunk and Marcus Lattimore, wide receivers Trovon Reed and Jeremy Richardson and offensive linemen James Stone and Shon Coleman. In all 23 elite prospects will attend the first “Big Cat Weekend”.There will be no forty times or agility drills. There will be no player evaluations or football competitions. Prospects will just hang out with the coaches and players for two days. They will play video games, have a home run hitting contest, a pie-eating contest and just hang out. In essence, this is a big social gathering for Auburn’s top recruiting targets.
“Some of the guys are coming to Auburn and we are just gonna kick it,” Curtis Luper said, Auburn’s running back coach. “It will be very casual; t-shirts, flip-flops, that kind of thing. We just want to get a feel for each other. It should be a great time for everyone.”
So why the new, fresh ideas for Auburn? Simple. To keep their recruiting momentum going. This is a new staff led by Chizik that closed very well with a short recruiting window with their first class they signed this past February. Auburn’s an SEC program in the football crazed state of Alabama. The Crimson Tide have dominated in-state recruiting the past few seasons. Then you have to factor the conference itself, where recruiting is absolutely brutal with all the high-profile college football powers like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and so on.
This staff hasn’t had a chance to play a down of football yet. That will come soon enough. But in the meantime, they need to keep the momentum going, from the way they closed in February, to the Tiger Prowl and now with the Big Cat Weekend. Regardless of what you think, these fresh ideas are making noise for Auburn recruiting in a positive way.
Will there be any other recruiting strategy surprises for Chizik and company? Certainly. Expect another big idea that’s outside the box in late July by Auburn. The Tiger Prowl, Big Cat Weekend and July’s mystery surprise will all become annual recruiting fixtures for the Auburn Tigers.