RECRUITING: The secret of Auburn’s and Gene Chizik’s recruiting failures

Under former Auburn football coach Gene Chizik, the Auburn Tigers landed recruiting classes ranked seventh in 2011 and fourth in 2010, according to Rivals national team rankings. However, the highly rated classes were mostly failures. Fans wondered why. Now, Gene Chizik has answered the question.

“Eighty-five percent of the guys that come into and report to camp after signing day are in the worst shape of their life,” Chizik told the Macon Touchdown Club as reported in the Macon Telegraph. “They got it done. ‘It’s all good, man, I signed my deal.’ You want to impress your coaches? Walk in there day one like you’re trying to earn a scholarship.”

Signed my deal?

Sounds more like a free agent deal in the NFL than signing a scholarship in the SEC.

Of course, when your top quarterback recruit’s father was shopping his son’s services for $180,000 and he somehow winds up at Auburn, that free agent deal comparison does not sound so unreasonable.

But ignoring the “deal” part there is a very big hint about the type of athletes Auburn recruited.

When most of the recruits come into camp in “the worst shape of their life” then you know the players are not highly motivated individuals. Where Alabama football coach Nick Saban does an intense evaluation of a player’s emotional development, academic commitment and football skill set, the Auburn method was nothing more than a shortcut of trying to land a top ranked recruit to impress fans with stars. It was a shortcut that ignored the hard work required from coaches to find the right player and instead relied on offering anyone they thought a rival school wanted in hopes of stealing a recruit and making a splash with Auburn’s fans who buy any “good news” and ignore any bad news.

Auburn’s recruiting methods have not really changed with the new staff. Watch the 2014 recruiting season. You will find one or two in-state recruits where Auburn will trumpet as a major battle against Alabama. When the recruit commits to Auburn, there will be much written by Auburn’s fan sites and a few morons in the state’s fading newspapers that declare a new day in Alabama recruiting.

However, the results will be the same. Hiring a bunch of off-the-field analysts won’t change it. The only hope Auburn ever has of a real change is finding someone outside the family system—they need another Tommy Tuberville not the buffoon high school coach they just hired who will do nothing but repeat the mistakes of the past.