Recruiting rewind: Auburn

Auburn Tigers

The class

Recruits: 32 (28 high school seniors, two enrolled early, and four junior college players, three enrolled early).

Top prospects: The Tigers signed seven ESPNU 150 prospects, led by running back Michael Dyer of Little Rock, Ark. Dyer is the No. 1 running back prospect in the country. Eric Mack is the No. 2 offensive guard prospect in the country. Corey Lemonier was a signing day addition; he's rated as the No. 9 defensive end prospect nationally.

Sleepers: Jessel Curry, the son of former Atlanta Falcons star Buddy Curry, could make an impact at linebacker or fullback. He’s already enrolled in school. Ryan Smith was a productive quarterback in high school, but is skilled enough to play just about anywhere.

Needs met: One of the Tigers’ biggest needs was met back in December when they signed former Florida quarterback Cameron Newton, who’s in school after graduating from junior college and will compete for the starting quarterback job this spring. Lemonier was also a key get late, especially with the Tigers losing Antonio Coleman. The other thing Auburn did was improve its speed on both sides of the ball. With Ben Tate departing, Dyer probably won't have to wait long to get a shot.

Analysis: No, the Tigers didn’t violate the SEC’s 28-signee rule. They actually signed 27 players to national letters-of-intents on Wednesday, adding to the five early enrollees that count against last year’s class. But, yes, Gene Chizik did make a statement that was heard around the SEC. The Tigers are well equipped to go out and sign great players and beat anybody to get them. He has a great recruiting staff with the likes of Trooper Taylor, Curtis Luper and Tommy Thigpen, and kids clearly want to play in Gus Malzahn’s offense. It doesn’t appear that this bunch is going to back down to Nick Saban’s recruiting machine. It should be fun in the state of Alabama over the next few years.

Scouts Inc. grade: A

What Gene Chizik said:

  • "I've said this so many times, but it's not about getting the best player. We obviously want the best player, but he also has to be the right player. I think our coaches did a great job and we did a great job of evaluating not only talent, but the mark of a man that we wanted to bring in to represent this university, our football program and the Auburn family. I am as much or more proud of that as I am with the talent that we recruited with this class."

  • "Michael Dyer, rock solid. Solid from the beginning to the end. My hat is off to him and his family. It's incredible, in our opinion, on what he brings to the table, not just as a football player. His personality is dynamic. His commitment to Auburn, his commitment to his coaches ... it's been phenomenal. He's been one of the most fun guys to recruit from the beginning to the end. He played some practical jokes at the end that we didn't appreciate, but we love him. He's been great. The importance of him to us is huge. Michael brings a dual type situation when you talk about a tailback. He is extremely powerful. He's probably one of the strongest running backs in terms of power running, breaking tackles, being able to run through two or three guys at times."