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Recruiting Season Takes Front and Center

With bowl season and the college coaching carousel finally ending, we can all focus more on recruiting and national signing day on February 3rd. If you've taken your eye off the ball, you're in for a pleasant surprise. This year's group of Auburn commitments may go down as the best in school history. Of course, nothing counts until the player signs on the dotted line, meaning the next few weeks will be as stressful for coaches as Thanksgiving at the Tiger Woods residence.

As I've said before, I'm not one to put a lot of stock in player rankings coming out of high school. You'll never convince me that you can rank with any accuracy, players from different states who run the same times in the 40 yard-dash and have the same build and comparable stats. For every Carnell Williams there's always a Leon Hart.

If national championships were won in February, Ray Goff would still be coaching at Georgia and Bob Davie wouldn't be annoying us on Saturday night. Web sites like Rivals and Scout do serve a purpose and they are often proven right. But at the end of the day it's all about coaching - something that's often forgotten during recruiting mania.

Even with all the variables, Auburn has reason for optimism. On Sunday, Marcus Lattimore, the top running back in the country according to Rivals, narrowed his choices to two, Auburn and South Carolina.

With Auburn already gaining the commitment of ESPN's top-rated back, Michael Dyer, many believed the odds of picking up Lattimore were long. The Dyer commitment seems to have had no effect so far. You have to like a kid who doesn't shy from competition. Lattimore plans to make his announcement the day before signing day.

If those two backs were not enough, Auburn remains in the hunt for Texas running back Lache Seastrunk. He's narrowed his choices to Auburn, LSU and Oregon. The odds of Gene Chizik landing all three are slim and most experts believe Seastrunk is the least likely to sign with Auburn. 

In recent days, his stock has fallen quite a bit after a lackluster week at the Army Bowl in San Antonio. He came into the game ranked fourth overall in the 2010 class, but has fallen now to 26th in the Rivals 100. According to Rivals analyst Barton Simmons, Seastrunk still has what it takes to succeed. "He remains a five-star because he is still one of the biggest home-run threats in this entire class. With the right system and coaching in his corner, he can still become a special football player."

With several weeks remaining, Auburn is projected by Rivals to have the fourth best class in America behind Florida, Texas and Alabama. Should Seastrunk or Lattimore pick the Tigers, Auburn could be looking at moving higher before it's all said and done.

Until they line up in fall practice it all means nothing. It's ok to get excited and be optimistic for the future, but let's not forget that history says almost half this class will be gone before the start of their senior season. There's likely a three-star athlete in this class that will be better than all of them. Antonio Coleman is living proof that the "experts" often miss.