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.

13 thoughts on “RECRUITING: The secret of Auburn’s and Gene Chizik’s recruiting failures”

  1. ITK, have you listen to 97.3 the zone from 4 to 6 p.m.? I listened yesterday and it was like listening to the auburn network!!!!!!

  2. @tblakney

    Reading this site could also make you think you’re on the Auburn Network too.

    These folks love Auburn more than Auburn fans.

  3. The problem with Auburn’s recruits has been COACHING. With a few exceptions, they have not improved from the point that they arrive to the time they use up their eligibility.

    This, more so than the vague concept of judging a recruit’s want to and effort, has been the killer for Auburn in 2012 and 2011.

    That *may* change with the new coaching staff. It may not.

    Even if your thesis is correct, the ability to judge a Feb. 2014 recruit’s effort will not be known until 2016 or 2017. Basing a recruit’s overall effort to listen to his coaches and improve on whether he is overweight or out of shape when he arrives is anecdotal and painting a 18 year old *child* with a very broad brush.

    1. Bill,

      Funny how recruits show up at Alabama in good shape for the most part and Auburn’s recruits show up in “the worst shape of their lives.”

      Saban’s Process(tm) is more effective than the Auburn God Thing(tm) system. Hoping and praying that half-assed recruiting efforts, which try to snag players of questionable character with lots of stars, can compete against a thorough evaluation of the mental, emotional and physical elements of a recruit is a joke. It is why Auburn is destined to fail until it gets someone like a Tommy Tuberville.

      Process beats prayer.;

      Saban includes a player’s high school work ethic in the classroom and in athletics in part of his evaluation. In the past, this was aided by his spring visits. That is no longer the case once they made the Saban Rule; however, I can tell you that a player’s character remains an important part of the evaluation process in Saban’s system. Even Saban misses, but his thoroughness means that he has a chance to get players who WANT to work rather than ones that must be MADE to work. This is an important element as Saban’s system of motivation relies on players being self-motivated.

      Everyone knows Saban is the greatest coach of this generation. Auburn probably should learn from his entire system rather than hoping and praying the God Thing(tm) will work again. Something that is doubtful because next time, I bet Mississippi State pays more than $180,000 when a QB’s daddy asks for it.

      1. Auburn had the perfect opportunity to learn about the inner workings of “The process” but let Jacobs (with Pat Dyes approval [dont believe his lies about preferring CKS, that was complete and total b.s.]) hop on the “gus bus” and sent a shock wave of relief to every corner of every part of the world where an Alabama fan might have been standing. So therefore the process continues and the Jacobs led trainwreck continues as well.

        1. If you think Malzhan wont be successful then you don’t really know a lot about his history. There are probably only a handful of college coaches, assistant or head-coach, that has had as much success as Malzhan has had over the last decade.

          In his last 8 years as an assistant coach and head coach he has won 6 divisional championships, 2 conference championships a National Championship a State Championship (undefeated team last season as high school coach) and produced a Heisman Trophy winning QB.

          On the last 9 teams that he’s been on (3 as head coach, 6 as OC) he has a 96-25 record (79.3 win percentage), is 5-1 in Bowl games and won double digit games in 6 of the 9 seasons. His worst 2 years were both 8-5; the first one was taking over an Auburn team that went 5-7 with one of the worst offenses in the country and made them a top 20 offense while his other “bad season” came after losing his entire offense and only returning 3 starters while playing one of the toughest schedule in the country.

          Malzhan has been ultra-successful and there is no doubt he will continue to have tremendous success.

          1. I understand your hopes and I understand why you have them, however I believe if you look at some key stats there will be no debate about Malzahn. His SEC record as an OC @ Auburn w\as 16-9. At first glance one could say “64% not bad” but lets take a little closer look. 9 of those victories came in 2010. I am not one of those Bammers that says “Chiziks record minus 2010” They earned it although if Newton had not lied about his knowledge of his dad shopping him around to MSU none of it would have mattered but hey they won it on the field so whatever. That season Auburn had to come from a double digit deficit 4 yes FOUR times to go undefeated and that doesnt include a last second score to go ahead of KENTUCKY. Not to diminish the Iron Bowl, you guys came back and won but have you ever taken a moment to look at the stats? Superman had 39 yds rushing(4 sacks) and a shade over 200 yards passing, not exactly a stellar day for a dual threat heisman qb. Other than a spectacular season laced with fortune what has the Malzahn O done in the SEC? I know he had a decent year at Arky but with all but two teams in the SEC west with winning records how good was it? Still posted 4 losses. My point is the mickey mousezahn O may work in high school but not in the SEC.
            There is too much speed too much talent on the defensive side of the ball. SEC defensive coordinators aren’t scared. However you should be.

  4. Nobody counts what he did in high school. Ask Jerry Faust how good an indicator that is of future success. He was 174-17-2 in high school including seven undefeated seasons.

    In college at Notre Dame, the story was significantly different.

    Now, in Malzahn’s plus side was that he took over a program that won ten games and then kept it at that level compared to the disaster that unfolded for your defensive coordinator at Southern Miss. He was 0-12 after the previous team was what 11-2.

    As an aside, does this incompetence mean Auburn’s defense will continue to suck? By your rule, past success is a direct indicator of continued performance. If only, that worked on Wall Street.

    Truth is, Malzahn will probably find a way to win 6 or 7 games and get into a bowl. Everyone in the Auburn family will cheer and say it is a sign of a turnaround. However, after three years of similar performance, Auburn will fire Malzahn if any decent coach anywhere shows any interest in the program. Why? Becaus Malzahn will not win the SEC West within the next three or four years. That means, at best, Auburn will finish middle of the pack in the division. That won’t satisfy Auburn fans. But, it is about as good as anyone can expect a high school caliber coach to do.

    1. Auburn could finish in the SEC West cellar for the second year in a row. Both of the Mississippi schools are on the rise (despite MSU’s slump in the latter part of the 2012 season), atm has a boatload of talent returning including the Heisman Trophy winner, and LSU and Alabama aren’t going anywhere soon. Only Arkansas appears to be in about the same shape as Neckburn and they went out and hired a big name coach in Bielema, not Harry High School Malzahn.

    2. You’re not looking at the whole picture of Malzhans tenure at Auburn.

      His first year at Auburn he had nothing to work with. His QB was Chris Todd. He had no star RB, average WRs, average O-line and a mediocre QB not built to run his system. Despite all of that he still turned Auburns offense from being ranked in the 90’s to top 20. He did this with very little talent (remember, Tubervilles last recruiting classes fell apart and the majority never played).

      2010 was the ONLY year he had at Auburn where he had at least some of the players to run his offense. Result: undefeated National Champions

      2011 He had 3 returning starters on the whole offense. New O-line and no QB to speak of. Chizik also made him slow the offense down to compensate for the defense. Auburn also played probably the toughest schedule in the country that year (@Clemson, @Georgia, @Arkansas, @LSU, @South Carolina and home against Alabama.

      Despite heavy losses and predictions of 2-3 wins they managed to go 8-5; far exceeding anyones expectations.

      Last year Auburn returned the majority of that team that went 8-5. They went on to win 3 games. The missing piece? Malzhan.

      No one judged Saban on his first year at Alabama. he didnt do well because he didnt have the players. Same situation with Malzhan. Despite being very succesful so far in his career he has YET to have an offense that he completely built himself. This year will be close but 2013 is where he’ll take off.

      And this crap about spread offenses not working in the SEC: 3 of the last 6 NCs have been SEC teams running the spread. It works.

  5. If Neckburn wanted to get things turned around in a hurry they would have bitten the bullet and hired Bob Petrino. Yes, the man is a scumbag but he’s also a darn good football coach. Instead, they chose to continue the Chizik Era without Chizik. They hire Gene Chizik II who will look the other way while the good ole boys that run the university continue their cheating ways.

    1. Crassus:

      Cheating ways? Which team in this state was the last to be sanctioned for paying recruits? Which team has been sanctioned 3 times in the last 20 years? Which team was almost handed the Death Penalty? Which team has vacated/forfieted 30 games the last 2 decades? Not Auburn.

      Before you point at the speck in my eye get the plank out of yours.

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