Coach Gus Malzahn capped off yet another successful recruiting cycle in February with the addition of Derrick Brown, the top-rated prospect in Georgia.
The five-star defensive tackle from Lanier High School spurned Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi State, respectively.
But the build up to Brown’s decision was clouded by uncertainty. Brown never hinted at having an official leader, and his mother, Martha, even suggested Auburn wasn’t among his favorite schools on the eve of National Signing Day.
SEC Country interviewed Brown’s mother to recount her son’s recruitment.
What school came in second? What could they have done better?
“I really can’t what school came in second, because that would be up to him. But everything just came down to where Derrick felt comfortable. Me and my husband helped him to think about the question as a kid that he wouldn’t ask himself: If he wasn’t playing football, can you see yourself on this campus? Would you be comfortable just going there and getting your degree?
What was the biggest rumor about you that wasn’t true?
“Everybody was thinking the whole time that Georgia had the lead the entire time. Not that Georgia had the lead, but that he had silently committed to Georgia.”
Which school disappointed you the most during your recruitment?
“No. Derrick had a great recruitment. The communication was kept at all schools. None of the coaches stepped out of bounds or anything like that. The SEC had a lot of changes towards the end of the recruiting period. That played a part of it. But, no.”
What was your biggest regret during the recruiting process?
“One regret, I think at the end, it was just too much pressure to make a decision. I think he wished he would’ve at least committed to someone earlier instead of doing everything at the end.”
Which coach that you didn’t sign with was the hardest to say no to?
“Actually, no. We got on the phone and called the coaches the night before. They all had straight comments. There wasn’t a coach he could not say ‘no’ to. I give kudos to all the coaches. There was no disrespect at the end. I was just so surprised.”
Were there any bad traveling experiences?
“I’ll tell you, and I’m being serious. Each and every one of Derrick’s trips was above and beyond what was expected. They were all five-star trips.”