AUBURN, Ala. — Linebackers coach Travis Williams has been instrumental in keeping Auburn in the fold for the top-rated inside linebacker in the country.
The former defensive analyst lured Nate McBride to the Plains over the weekend for an unofficial visit and aims to carry that recruiting momentum into next February.
“He stayed with me the whole time,” said McBride, the No. 1 inside linebacker in 2017 and the No. 4 overall prospect in the state of Georgia. The Vidalia, Ga., native was just one of two recruits to visit Auburn over the weekend.
“(Williams) talked to my parents some, too, just about all the different aspects of Auburn. He basically stressed that he’s going to give it to me straight forward. He said that they needed a linebacker and I was the one. He said he isn’t going to stop until I said no … or yes.”
McBride, who has long been considered a Georgia lean, conceded after his visit that Auburn was seemingly out of the picture before Williams was elevated to linebackers coach in January. Williams, a former linebacker for the Tigers from 2001-05, visited McBride last month at Vidalia Comprehensive. The trip paid dividends for Auburn and the first-year coach, as both sides have remained in continuous contact since.
“They really, really, really impressed me today,” McBride said of his visit. “I know I’m on a high right now. I mean, they weren’t in my top five before Coach Williams came because I had just got from Alabama (last spring) and went to Auburn the next day and all I got to see was the stadium and practice, which was good because they played with a high intensity the whole time. Coming here showed me a lot more of what I needed to see and what I wanted to see.”
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound rising senior was accompanied on the trip by his parents. McBride toured the facilities and the player dorms, later describing Saturday’s unofficial visit as “much needed.”
But the coaching staff’s hospitality was the highlight of his trip.
“I know I was the only one (at Auburn) for my position, but they devoted their time to me and they made sure I felt like I was at home even though this was only the second time I’ve been here,” said McBride, who visited last spring. “Basically the first.”
After Auburn lost three linebackers — Cassanova McKinzy, Kris Frost and Justin Garrett — to graduation in January and signed just one in the 2016 cycle in Tre Threat, the program could potentially take up to five linebackers in 2017.
McBride figures to be a top target.
“They stressed how they need linebackers,” said McBride. “(Williams) kept telling me, ‘We need you, we want you.’”
McBride will visit Auburn again during spring practice. He has not yet been cleared to resume football activities following a wrist injury in August.
All rankings are according to the 247Sports Composite