BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Let’s all take a quick phonetics class.
Even Gus Malzahn should probably tune in. When Malzahn went through the Auburn football list on National Signing Day, he made a name change to one of his new wide receivers because, well, it’s not the easiest name to pronounce.
“I’m just going to start calling him ‘Iggy.’ I don’t know exactly how to pronounce that last name, so it’s Noah ‘Iggy,’ ” Malzahn said in February.
That’s how Malzahn opened his comments on Noah Igbinoghene. Let us break it down for you, Gus. It’s “Ig-bin-og-in-ee.” It rolls right off the tongue.
Igbinoghene’s name pronunciation isn’t the only thing people in the Auburn community don’t know about the future football and track star for the Tigers. His recruitment flew mostly under the radar. Auburn didn’t offer Igbinoghene until midway through the 2016 season. He committed to the Tigers not long after, on Thanksgiving Day.
Take a look back at Igbinoghene’s recruitment, one that didn’t receive much attention at the time.
The following is a Q&A with Igbinoghene for SEC Country’s Auburn recruiting rewind series.
Q: If you could give a junior one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
A: “Stick to the values you want and the school you want. Don’t try to change anything because of different recruits. Just focus on your recruitment. Don’t focus on all the big ones. Just focus on yourself.”
Q: What school came in second? What could they have done better?
A: “Hmm. Probably Notre Dame. It was just too cold [laughing]. That’s about it. There’s nothing they could really do about that.”
Q: What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention?
A: “Auburn’s official, the night we got there, all the coaches and recruits, we had a big dinner. I don’t even know where it was. It was somewhere on campus. It was so good.”
Q: What was the biggest rumor about your recruitment that wasn’t true?
A: “I don’t really think there was any rumors for me. I kept it pretty quiet.”
Q: What’s the biggest secret you kept during the recruiting process that you only told a few people?
A: “Probably that I wanted to stay close to home. My family knew that, but not all of the college coaches knew.”
Q: What’s your biggest regret from the recruiting process?
A: “Probably not going to The Opening and camps like that. I usually skipped because of track. I wish I would’ve gone to them just to get the experience and the exposure. It would’ve helped with everything.”
Q: Which coach was it the hardest to tell no?
A: “Duke. Coach [David] Cutcliffe, they were all nice. It was just hard to say no. They stuck with me since the beginning. It was just hard to say no.”
Q: What school disappointed you the most during your recruitment?
A: “Ole Miss, they came in right at the end. Oregon came in like two weeks before Signing Day. They wanted me to come up for a visit. I was like, ‘There’s no way. I’m not going to waste my time.’ I wish they’d reached out to me earlier, so I really could’ve checked them out.”
Q: How much negative recruiting was out there?
A: “I really didn’t get that much.”
Q: Which non-Auburn coach was the nicest to you? Anyone that was a little more hard-edged?
A: “Coach Cutcliffe was definitely the nicest. He was always great. Then I’d probably say the Notre Dame head coach [Brian Kelly]. He wasn’t mean, but you could tell once you get in there, you probably shouldn’t mess with him.”
Q: If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with recruiting?
A: “I guess that coaches should be able to talk to recruits a lot more. There are certain times they can text you and stuff like that. I feel like it would be better for everyone if there was more open communication the whole time.”