football

Westerman headed to SEC

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The nation's third-best offensive tackle by Rivals.com has been committed to Texas since early April but no more as Christian Westerman switched his pledge to Auburn during a news conference at his high school on Friday.
"I have spent countless hours and months considering all the things that matter to me for my college future and football future, and Auburn just came out on top in the end," Westerman said according to ArizonaVarsity.com. "It was about the Auburn coaches, especially coach Gene Chizik and the OL coach, Jeff Grimes."
Getting Westerman, a 6-foot-5, 288-pound prospect, is another big boost for Auburn's recruiting class as Chizik and the Tigers take advantage of their national championship run and hope to close strong on the recruiting trail.
A couple things fell into place for Auburn which helped it land Westerman, rated third at offensive tackle, No. 27 overall and first in the Arizona state rankings by Rivals.com.
His official visit to Auburn in December went extraordinarily well and he got to develop a good relationship with Grimes, who met with Texas about its opening for the same position but both sides decided that it was not a good fit.
AuburnSports.com publisher Jeffrey Lee said Grimes' decision to stay at Auburn was a huge factor in Westerman's decision.
"I think if Jeff Grimes takes that job at Texas there isn't an announcement today," Lee said. "The big thing is Auburn had a chance, took advantage of it and when Jeff Grimes turned down the Texas job then things really started to turn Auburn's way."
Westerman watched a bowl practice in Arizona when Auburn was there preparing for the national title game against Oregon so the four-star got a chance to watch Grimes in action. During that trip, Chizik, Grimes, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and possibly other coaches stopped for an in-home visit with Westerman, too.
Auburn saw its chance to steal one of the nation's top offensive tackles and jumped on it.
While that was happening, Texas was without an offensive line coach. Westerman was close with former Longhorns' position coach Mac McWhorter but he retired in December and that had to be a concern as Westerman's recruitment moved forward.
According to a source, Westerman found out Wednesday night that Texas had hired Stacy Searels, formerly of Georgia and LSU, to coach the offensive line.
But the source said the Westerman family didn't know much about Searels and at that point it was clear the switch from Texas to Auburn was in place.
"A lot of things really fell into place for Auburn when it comes to Westerman," Lee said. "If things worked out differently for Texas in a lot of ways we might not be having this conversation."
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