Auburn recruiting question of the day: Ranking top-5 recruiters on staff in 2018 cycle
Much like Justin Ferguson does on the Auburn team side, recruiting reporter Benjamin Wolk will answer the Recruiting Question of the Day. You can ask him questions on Twitter or Facebook. Look for our Question of the Day each weekday. Go here to see our previous answers.
Rank Auburn's coaches in order of recruiting impact.
— Zac Blackerby (@Zblackerby) February 19, 2018
5. Defensive line coach Rodney Garner
Maybe the standard has been set too high for Rodney Garner.
With five defensive line signees — Daquan Newkirk, Coynis Miller, Richard Jibunor, Kayode Oladele and Caleb Johnson — Garner did what he normally does. He found athletic, versatile defensive linemen in bulk, including a National Signing Day addition from Johnson. That would’ve garnered (see what I did there) a top-3 spot on the staff in the 2018 class.
So maybe we’ve just become too accustomed to Garner’s recruiting success to rank him fairly.
It’s also a testament to the work other position coaches and coordinators did during the 2018 recruiting cycle.
4. Running backs coach Tim Horton
Tim Horton deserves more love than he receives.
The Auburn running backs coach recently got some of that love from Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson during an appearance on The Cube Show with Cole Cubelic. Horton doesn’t get the credit he deserves for Auburn’s consistent trend of 1,000-yard rushers. He also rarely earns enough recognition for his role as a recruiter.
We’ll take care of that here.
Horton played a primary or secondary role in adding all three 2018 running backs — Asa Martin, Shaun Shivers and Harold Joiner. Horton’s long-standing relationship with Joiner helped secure the versatile athlete late in the cycle. He also played a key part in securing Australian punter Arryn Siposs, which Tigers fans will be thankful for in 2018.
Horton’s ability to help snag Martin will be the defining move in the 2018 class.
He also played a key role in the Bo Nix recruitment. Even though that’s 2019, it’s worth mentioning here.
3. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele
Position coaches are the ones most often asked to take on day-to-day recruiting efforts. Most coordinators take a CEO-type role to recruiting. They often don’t have a specific recruiting area, and they tackle more big-picture recruiting concepts.
That describes Kevin Steele’s role for Auburn, too, but it shouldn’t take away from his recruiting impact on the 2018 class.
When several 2018 signees committed, they cited conversations with Steele as major selling points. Anyone who has met Steele or had conversations with him understand the type of mental and emotional effect it could have on a recruit. Quindarious Monday, Jamien Sherwood, Christian Tutt, Coynis Miller, Caleb Johnson and Roger McCreary all credited Steele to their ultimate commitments. Several other factors went into it, but Steele’s presence sealed the deal.
In Monday’s case specifically, Steele deserves high praise. Monday was a week away from committing to Clemson when he took a visit to Auburn. His time with Steele on that visit not only gave him pause with Clemson; it caused him to commit to Auburn on the spot.
2. Linebackers coach Travis Williams
Even when he’s not recruiting his own position, Travis Williams is helping the Tigers from a recruiting standpoint.
Williams locked up the two linebackers he wanted in this class — Zakoby McClain and Michael Harris — but he didn’t stop there. With a lessened need for immediate linebacker help, Williams was tasked with finding prospects from his recruiting territories and getting them to Auburn, even if he wasn’t going to be their position coach.
That happened with prospects such as Matthew Hill, Quindarious Monday, Christian Tutt, Richard Jibunor, Roger McCreary and Josh Marsh. Yes, Williams is an ace recruiter at his own position, which will show itself in full form during the 2019 cycle, but he’s done a complete job of helping other position groups.
1. Wide receivers coach Kodi Burns
Kodi Burns silenced any remaining recruiting critics during the 2018 cycle.
After the 2017 class, the common complaint was that Auburn only took one true wide receiver, and it was 3-star Noah Igbinoghene who chose Auburn over Duke and Notre Dame. Burns picked up some criticism because of his youth and an underwhelming opening recruiting cycle. But most of that had to do with the star-studded receiver class the Tigers took the year before Burns’ arrival.
He corrected the script in the 2018 class.
Matthew Hill, Seth Williams, Shedrick Jackson and Anthony Schwartz make up one of the best wide receiver classes in the nation. All four bring immediate-impact ability in a variety of different ways. Also, even though Auburn missed, the fact the Tigers also finished second for prospects such as Justyn Ross and Ja’Marr Chase — despite four highly-rated guys already committed — is a testament to Burns’ ability to relate to high school prospects.
To see all the answers to prior Auburn questions, click here.