Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Auburn Tigers football recruiting notebook with Auburn beat writer Benjamin Wolk. Today, we talk about new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey’s role in recruiting and how recruits reacted to their new coach.
Chip Lindsey, the recruiter
AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn took his sweet time choosing Auburn’s next offensive coordinator in Chip Lindsey. That was by design, he said Saturday.
From a recruiting perspective, it seemed like an odd time to linger over an OC search with National Signing Day so close. But it was a testament to the work Auburn’s staff already had done to stabilize the 2017 offensive recruits.
Jarrett Stidham, Malik Willis, Salvatore Cannella and Nick Brahms are already on campus as early enrollees. The combination of Herb Hand, Tim Horton, Kodi Burns and Scott Fountain helped confirm Calvin Ashley, Austin Troxell, Noah Igbinoghene and Alaric Williams. Devan Barrett and Octavius Matthews are the only outlying concerns. Even both of them have said publicly (below) that they are solid with Auburn and the Tigers shouldn’t be concerned.
All in all, that’s some impressive recruiting without an offensive coordinator.
Malzahn felt comfortable from a recruiting standpoint. He knew he could be patient. But, as he introduced Lindsey, Malzahn seemed aware of the astute time of his decision. There were 11 prospects on campus for official visits — 4 offensive — and the hire added some energy to the weekend.
“I think the timing is good for us. It’s our biggest recruiting weekend, and Chip is going to get a chance to meet (the recruits) face-to-face. A lot of them are already familiar with him,” Malzahn said. “At the same time, I think the timing is good. That worked out pretty well.”
Lindsey’s history as a high school coach in the state of Alabama and Georgia gave him some easy talking points with the prospects on campus. He also recruited many of the same guys to Arizona State over the course of the last year.
The connection to the states are likely to be Lindsey’s biggest asset on the recruiting trail. Lindsey has as many ties as most coaches in the Alabama-Georgia corridor, and Auburn will hope to use that to regain some traction in the neighboring state.
“I think it’s definitely a plus, especially when you have familiarity with people and know coaches around both of these states,” Lindsey said. “These are two great states who play great high school football. That’s where Auburn has made a living since I can remember. I’m excited to rekindle some of those relationships for sure.”
Malzahn hired Lindsey to take full control of the offense. A big part of that responsibility includes his noted reputation of quarterback development. Lindsey has a great situation now with Jarrett Stidham, Sean White, John Franklin III and Woody Barrett. With success, Malzahn and Lindsey will have a future together with the Tigers.
That means more quarterback recruiting. That means more development. That’s what Malzahn likes about the Linsdey hire.
“Really his resume of developing quarterbacks and his reputation in the state of Alabama and Georgia, especially among high school coaches. He is a great communicator. He is a great person and a type of coach that you would want your son to play for,” Malzahn said. “I have confidence that he will develop them at the highest level.”
Lindsey’s meetings with his future players — the ones not already enrolled, at least — were relatively brief in 1-on-1 settings. But they all got a feel for what to expect in the coming year. It gave everyone confidence that Malzahn made a calculated hire heading into a critical year.
Here’s what all 4 of the officially visiting prospects — Chase Lasater, Austin Troxell, Alaric Williams and Calvin Ashley — had to say about their new offensive coordinator.
- 3-star fullback target Chase Lasater: “I talked to him very briefly. I talked to him when he was recruiting me at Arizona State but I had an idea about him. I’ve talked to him on Twitter but he seems like a nice, cool guy.”
- 4-star OT commit Austin Troxell: “I talked with him about 15-20 minutes. He’s from the same area as I am so it’s nice to see a familiar face with a similar background. I look forward to building a relationship with him. He coached at Bob Jones and it was cool to meet somebody from around the same area … (I learned) that nothing was going to change. We’re going to run the ball. It’s going to be the same stuff. He’s a personable guy and in terms of relationships, he’s a guy that I feel I can talk to about whatever.”
- 4-star RB commit Alaric Williams: “I was actually really happy. My guardian already knew him and they had contacted each other back then. I was really happy about that. I knew they would find somebody good whether it was him or not … He was just telling me what he liked to do with the running backs. He didn’t really say much. He was just telling me how I would fit in the scheme and how the other running backs would fit in the scheme. I ate dinner with him two nights in a row and he’s a nice guy. We didn’t talk about football as much as we did about just life.”
- 5-star OL Calvin Ashley: “Coach Lindsey just came in, just talked to him. We’ve got a great relationship. He’s a great coach. His background speaks for itself.”