When LSU fired Les Miles, the same question kept arising in my conversations with Auburn folk: How does this affect the Tigers in recruiting?
Well, I’ve given you a brief update on the short-term effect. The long-term outcome will be dependent on several factors, starting with LSU’s ultimate choice at head coach. But there are a few LSU commits/targets who seem more likely candidates than others.
IN PLAINS SIGHT: Auburn commits, targets in all-star game
One of the big Auburn wants to watch: Isaiah Buggs.
Buggs — the defensive lineman out of Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. — has been an In Plains Sight regular. The last time he was featured in one of these notebooks was shortly after his unofficial visit for the Clemson game in an environment that left him “amazed.”
That visit came after Buggs released his top 4 schools of Auburn, Ole Miss, Alabama and LSU. Obviously, a lot has changed in that time frame, including a coaching change at the school believed to be the Louisiana native’s frontrunner.
After the Miles announcement, Buggs told SEC Country’s LSU recruiting reporter Sam Spiegelman that he found out like most others did — through social media. That led him, in essence, to scrapping his top list, then waiting to see if the firing triggered a coaching carousel.
For Buggs, like many recruits, a firing of Miles’ stature is somewhat of an awakening, a first-hand reality check in the dog-eat-dog world of big-time college football.
“It’s tough for that program, but coaching changes happen every day, so you never know what’s going to happen,” Buggs told Spiegelman.
LSU, however, is far from out of the equation. Prior to the interim head coach promotion, Buggs forged a strong relationship with Ed Orgeron, who formerly coached Buggs’ position group. As Spiegelman reported, Orgeron led Buggs and a few other highly coveted recruits to midfield — a sign of how much LSU values the big man.
But the JUCO defensive lineman said he’ll continue to put his primary focus on his own season. Still, he has a lot of love for Auburn after making a few visits in 2016.
“Every time I go to Auburn, I feel like I’m at home, and that’s the main thing for me,” Buggs said.
He’s developed a relationship with Rodney Garner. And, per usual, the Auburn defensive line coach has stuck with more off-the-field discussions in their conversations.
“The main thing is to stay focused and to finish up with school and to be a better player on and off the field, and be a better player every day,” Buggs said.
Buggs told Spiegelman that LSU and Alabama would still receive official visits. Buggs suggested in September that Auburn would get one as well.
5-star Auburn commit meets Under Armour CEO
Included in the Monday notebook, Auburn 5-star offensive line commit Calvin Ashley took to Twitter to voice his pleasure with his official visit to Maryland.
On Tuesday, he took to Instagram to give a better impression of why the experience might’ve been so enjoyable.
That’s right. Ashley stood shoulder to shoulder with the found of Under Armour, Kevin Plank — a Maryland grad and the creator of the Terrapins’ quirky jersey selection. Plank is to Maryland as Phil Knight is to Oregon.
As much as these little things might not seem to matter, believe me, creative jerseys matter to 17-year-olds and 18-year-olds. It might not be a final decision-maker, but it certainly will only help Maryland’s chances at a flip.
Former Auburn target de-commits from South Carolina
Auburn, still without a 2017 wide receiver commit, had another potential prospect added to the market Tuesday.
Shawn Smith from Brunswick (Ga.) tweeted his de-commitment from South Carolina after a visit to Columbia last weekend left him feeling like a lower priority for the Gamecocks.
— Shawn Smith (@_BallToHard) October 4, 2016
Smith committed to South Carolina in May. His pre-commitment recruitment had a strong correlation to Will Muschamp’s trajectory. Smith’s first offer came from Florida when Muschamp was the head coach there. He soon picked up an Auburn offer, just prior to Muschamp’s arrival as defensive coordinator.
Ultimately, Smith chose the Gamecocks a few months after Muschamp’s move to South Carolina head coach, though Smith’s decision had more to do with wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon, who is from Smith’s hometown on the Georgia coast.
Now, Smith re-opens his recruitment with offers from Georgia, Auburn, West Virginia, Miami, Florida, Kentucky and others. His cousin, Deejay Dallas, is committed to Miami, and the early thought is that Miami could be a favorite.
But, prior to his South Carolina commitment, Smith’s 247Sports Crystal Ball had predictions for Auburn, Miami and Georgia. With no commitments in this class for the Tigers, and Smith’s concern about his “priority” at South Carolina, Auburn might have the openings at the position in the 2017 class to develop a symbiotic relationship.