football Edit

Three-point stance: Inside the mind of Mike

Auburn is on quite a bit of a run when it comes to elite defensive ends huh? What started in 2013 with the commitment of Carl Lawson, No. 4 in the country, continued in 2015 with Byron Cowart, the nation's No. 1 player, and now with Marlon Davidson (pictured above) in 2016, the nation's No. 8 player. So has a team ever recruited national top 10 defensive ends in three out of four recruiting cycles? The answer is never, not ever. Now we still have two more rankings cycles left in the 2016 class so there's a chance Davidson could slide out of the top 10 and ruin my point, but there's also a chance he could move up into the top five and make this even more astonishing. Time will tell on that one and I am very high on him - think Marvin Austin athleticism playing outside (and yes that's a huge compliment despite Austin's troubles after high school).
The closest a team has come to matching this historic feat? USC landed No. 6 in 2007 with Everson Griffin and followed that with Devon Kennard in 2009. USC could have added to the list had it closed on Ronald Powell, the nation's No. 1 in 2010, but Urban Meyer, messed that up for the Trojans. So rejoice Auburn fans, not only do you have one of the biggest potential difference-makers in this 2016 class, but you have a chance to make history as well.
3. Step it up, Hokies
The second half of the Ohio State-Virginia Tech game Monday night was a perfect example of the direction the two programs are headed when it comes to recruiting as well. The Buckeyes are just loading up on big-time prospects and recruiting nationally while the Hokies, who I believe had a chance to take their recruiting national or somewhat national at least during the success they had with the Vick brothers, Bryan Randall and Tyrod Taylor, continue to recruit locally and are putting together a pedestrian class so far. The difference in talent on the field, and this is with Ohio State missing four of its best players, was scary. While the Buckeyes are No. 1 in the 2016 class with commits from Florida, New Jersey, Texas and Maryland, the Hokies are No. 43 with one commitment, quarterback Joshua Jackson from Michigan, outside their comfort zone.
Do I think the Hokies and Frank Beamer (above) should be out-recruiting Meyer and the Buckeyes? No, not really, but they should be recruiting deeper into the Southeast while keeping key players home and it's not happening. The Hokies don't currently have any of the state of Virginia's top 10 committed for 2016 and landed only two in 2015 and 2014 respectively. And when local stars such as Jonathan Allen, Josh Sweat, Derrick Green, Da'Shawn Hand, Jalyn Holmes, Derrick Nnadi and Levonta Taylor keep getting away, it's a perception problem that carries over. Heck, UVa has had more big-time in-state commits over the last few years than the Hokies and it is 11-26 in its last 37 games. Something needs to change, either the approach or perhaps new blood. Now prove to me I'm wrong.
Mike Farrell
National Recruiting Director
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