Just before Auburn ushered in a new wave of signees in February, it was tasked with replacing three prominent coaches
The departures of defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, secondary coach Travaris Robinson and offensive line coach J.B. Grimes brought on an unexpected coaching turnover in the midst of the most critical time of the recruiting cycle.
Now, with a full staff in place, SEC Country examined each coach’s replacement and the effect they’ll have on the Tigers’ recruiting efforts in 2017.
One of Auburn’s newest coaching additions may be as well known for his nickname as he is his recruiting acumen.
Dubbed “Coach Crime Dog”, Wesley McGriff returns to the Southeastern Conference once more, bringing with him a proven history of landing blue-chip prospects such as Robert Nkemdiche and Tony Conner.
The 48-year-old coach will look to carry that success over to the Plains heading into the 2017 recruiting cycle.
“He has a tremendous amount of experience and success in developing players at the college and NFL levels,” coach Gus Malzahn said of McGriff in January. “Wesley’s a true professional and a man of character that will be a great coach and mentor for our players.”
McGriff, who spent the past three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, has been everywhere: from Kentucky to Baylor to Miami. The one common denominator on each of his stops? His ability to recruit.
McGriff played a key role in restoring Ole Miss as one of the premier programs in the South. In 2013, the Rebels finished with the No. 8 recruiting class in the country, one that included wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, Nkemdiche and Connor, all of whom would go on to be cornerstones of the program.
Mix in former four-star Lavon Hooks, who was recruited by McGriff and is currently carving out a path in the pros, and it’s no secret why Ole Miss has risen to prominence in recent years.
Much of the same will be expected out of the Georgia native in 2017. McGriff will be largely responsible for recruiting out of two talent-laden areas: South Florida and Atlanta. His recruiting efforts have already landed the Tigers a commitment in Miami defensive end Robert Hicks.
Auburn signed two defensive backs in 2016 in Marlon Character and Daniel Thomas, but a clear need remains. McGriff will play a key role in bolstering the program’s depth at the position. If his past efforts are any indication of what is to come, McGriff will help the Tigers fill those voids and others.
Notable targets in 2017
Ambry Thomas, four-star cornerback (Detroit)
AJ Terrell, four-star cornerback (Atlanta, Ga.)
Amir Riep, four-star cornerback (Cincinnati, Ohio)
*Carlito Gonzalez, three-star safety (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
All rankings are according to the 247Sports Composite