Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School cornerback Devin Gaulden has only one year of football under his belt and that one season ended up being a short one. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound defender played in only three games before an injury sidelined him for the final seven contests.
Still, the raw athlete piqued the attention of colleges across the country. Fully healthy this spring, Gaulden piled up scholarship offers as recruiters saw the potential in him. He says the offers came as a big surprise.
"I was offered in the spring by Wisconsin, Wake Forest, Boston College, Duke, Northern Illinois, Buffalo, Marshall, New Mexico and Bowling Green," Gaulden said. "They all came as a big shock to me.
"I haven't played much football and I didn't play in many games last year. I guess they liked what they saw from me in spring ball. It was a blessing to see all of these schools come through with offers."
However, it was an SEC program that eventually landed Gaulden's services.
"I committed to Auburn on July 22," he said. "They offered me after a camp earlier this summer. I went to the camp on July 18.
"That offer didn't really surprise me. The coaches wanted me to come to camp so they could see me in person. Since I didn't have much film, they wanted to see me before they offered. I knew I would go in there and perform well and I did."
It did not take Gaulden long to commit to the Tigers after the offer was extended.
"They had everything I was looking for," he said of Auburn. "They have great facilities and great coaches. The school was really nice and I liked everything about it.
"I didn't have to think [about committing] very long. I knew that was where I wanted to go even before visiting the campus and that trip just cemented it in my mind. It has everything I'm looking for."
It helps that his family was also on board with the decision.
"My dad and my grandfather also made the trip up there," Gaulden said. "They liked it a lot as well. They were excited when I told them I wanted to go there. They are all for me being a Tiger. Everybody is really excited."
In his three games last year, Gaulden put up solid numbers. He tallied 15 tackles, six pass breakups, one fumble recovery and a forced fumble for the Suns.