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Auburn can still reap benefits from Will Muschamp's recruits

Will Muschamp has never stuck around long at Auburn.

He started out as a graduate assistant in 1995 and stayed for two seasons. He returned as defensive coordinator in 2006, and once again it was two seasons before he left to take the same position at Texas. His latest stint didn’t even last that long. He was defensive coordinator for less than a year before jumping ship to become the head coach at South Carolina.

Is it fair for fans to be upset? Sure, the guy did sign a three-year contract. And the worst part is that he’s taking Travaris Robinson, an Auburn graduate, with him as his new defensive coordinator. He’s basically swiping one of their own.

But let’s not forget the impact Muschamp and Robinson made in just one year.

“I think we made some tremendous improvement as the year went on and certainly added some very good players to the program,” Muschamp said. “I hate the fact that those kids have to go through a change again at defensive coordinator. That’s something that I regret.

“But that’s a great situation there.”

It might not be a "great" situation yet, but it’s a much better situation than it was a year ago when Muschamp arrived. In less than two months’ time, he and Robinson pulled in some recruits that -- assuming they stay -- could help change the Auburn program.

Here’s a look at a handful of Auburn players who might not be there if not for the recruiting efforts of Muschamp and Robinson:

DE Byron Cowart: As the nation’s No. 1 recruit per ESPN, Cowart drew the most attention when he signed with Auburn, and Muschamp had everything to do with it. The Florida native visited for the first time in January, and two weeks later he signed with the Tigers. It was a disappointing freshman season for Cowart, who finished with just 11 tackles. But Muschamp praised his production late in the year and the future is still bright.

DB Carlton Davis: He might be the steal of the class. Once committed to Ohio State, Davis flipped to Auburn following his official visit and an in-home visit from Muschamp and Robinson. He emerged as one of the team’s starting cornerbacks after the first month of the season and finished with 45 tackles, eight passes broken up and three interceptions.

LB Jeff Holland: The four-star linebacker, ranked No. 46 in the ESPN 300, was another huge signing-day get for Auburn. Holland was supposed to come in and help the pass rush, and while he showed flashes at times, he finished with only 12 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.

DB Tim Irvin: He was committed to Texas, and had never even been to Auburn. But on his first trip, Irvin flipped his commitment and just days later was enrolled at Auburn. The four-star athlete played quite a bit in the secondary and had 18 tackles and two passes breakups on the year.

DB Jeremiah Dinson: He wasn’t having quite the year Davis was, but Dinson was still having a solid freshman season before a gruesome injury against Texas A&M ended it. He played in nine games and finished with 15 tackles.

WR Ryan Davis: Following the same path as Cowart and Holland, Davis took an official visit in January and signed two weeks later. He didn’t play much until the end of the season. His biggest play was a 28-yard run on a trick play against Texas A&M.

OL Mike Horton: He had committed to Florida, but when Muschamp was let go and went to Auburn, Horton followed.

DB Javaris Davis: Sensing a trend? Davis was yet another Florida DB who signed with Auburn thanks in large part to the recruiting efforts of Robinson.

DB Jamel Dean (transfer): Dean signed with Ohio State in February. But when he was medically disqualified, he transferred to Auburn because of the previous relationships he had with Muschamp and Robinson.