Five programs that stand to benefit from Auburn's transition
The firing of Gus Malzahn at Auburn will start a coaching search and it will also could have major recruiting implications as the Early Signing Period is just days away along with the 2022 recruiting class and beyond. Here are five teams that could benefit from the upheaval at Auburn.
The Crimson Tide need no help in recruiting but Malzahn won some battles over the years with in-state prospects and that might not be the case any longer with a new coaching staff and Alabama cruising to another College Football Playoff berth. The 2022 class in the state of Alabama is loaded especially on the defensive side of the ball and Auburn’s new coaching staff is going to have to quickly convince a lot of those players on the new vision as Alabama’s is clear as day: Winning national championships and sending players to the NFL on a yearly basis.
Two of Auburn’s top receivers - Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove - are from the state of Florida. Shaun Shivers and Mark-Antony Richards are from there. So many players on Auburn’s roster are from that talent-rich state and over the years there have been others like five-star Byron Cowart, who went to Auburn over Florida and didn’t pan out with the Tigers. Dan Mullen has the Gators rolling along, save for Saturday’s loss to LSU, but many players looking for quick-strike offense and stability could look more at Florida and less at Auburn. It’s going to be a major challenge for the new coaching staff to save the 2021 players from there along with 2022 prospects like Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade Madonna DB Brian Dilworth.
Florida State could not keep Tallahassee (Fla.) Florida State University School Ahmari Harvey home to play for the Seminoles as he committed to Auburn in August, three-star defensive back Phillip O’Brien was also heavily pursued by Florida State and the Tigers have had success dipping into the state of Florida for players over the years. Even though the Seminoles have major problems of their own, Mike Norvell and his staff could use this as an opportunity to keep some of those players home as they look to rebuild their own program. It’s going to be a challenge for sure but especially in the Panhandle and into Alabama, Georgia and other locales, the Seminoles could have a nice benefit here.
Last recruiting cycle, Auburn landed nine players from the state of Georgia, many of whom the Bulldogs were battling for including four-star defensive end Zykevious Walker and especially four-star running back Tank Bigsby, who would have just added to the insane arsenal in Georgia’s backfield. But Auburn won a lot of battles in that state even with Georgia coach Kirby Smart recruiting so well and that’s not a guarantee for the new coaching staff, guys like leading tackler Zakoby McClain and Owen Pappoe. Flipping five-star offensive lineman Amarius Mims seems impossible now; four-star linebacker Trevin Wallace in Georgia has been leaning to Auburn but we’ll see how that plays out now that Malzahn is no longer the coach.
There are plenty of other programs that could benefit from an uncertain future at Auburn including LSU, Miami, Tennessee, Arkansas and a host of programs in the state of Texas since Malzahn and his staff tapped their connections there for some key recruits but Ole Miss could take advantage here especially for offensive playmakers that had been going to Auburn. The Tigers have dipped into Mississippi for TE Jeremiah Pegues or for Derick Hall or Jaren Handy among others over the years. If Lane Kiffin can convince those types of players to stay home, the Rebels could have some major recruiting wins ahead.