Signing Day has come and gone! What direction will these young men take?
War Eagle, everybody! Yesterday, head coach Gene Chizik and staff wrapped up one of the most highly acclaimed recruiting classes in Auburn history. Borrowing the Rivals.com star system, this class averages 3.5 stars. On paper, at least, it's an unprecedented haul that lands Auburn around 4th in the nation in recruiting this year. More importantly, a number of positions of immediate need were filled, and filled well!
How does this class compare to recent Auburn recruiting classes? Under Tommy Tuberville, the average star rating of any particular class never topped 3.0. Not only are there top players in Gene Chizik's class this year, there is depth. Auburn signed 3 five-star guys, and a whopping 13 4-stars. The rest of the class is rounded out mostly by 3-stars, with only 3 guys ranking 2 stars. This is a serious departure from recent history!
As excited as we Tigers are today, the real measure of this class will be several years down the road. We can complain about previous recruiting classes, but the real damage was done to the Auburn program by guys that could not stick around. There are various reasons for this, but the sum total was a very thin team in a lot of spots in 2009. What follows is a class-by-class list of the guys who were NOT around for Auburn's trip to the Outback Bowl this past January.
2005: Montez Billings, Tray Blackmon, Oscar Gonzales, Michael Harness, Alonzo Horton, Zach Kutch, Sen'Derrick Marks, Rudy Odom, Jerraud Powers, Prechae Rodriguez, Rex Sharpe, Patrick Trahan, Brian West, and Jonathan Wilhite. That's 14 guys out of 20 that did not make it to their 5th year.
2006: Steven Ensminger, Raven Gray, Bo Harris, Tim Hawthorne, Hendrick Leverette, Bryant Miller, Alex Rose, Chris Slaughter, Greg Smith, and Lee Tilley. That's 10 guys out of a class of 25 that didn't make it to their 4th year.
2007: Kyle Coulahan, Enrique Davis, Johnnie Lee Dixon, Brandon Earl, Bo Harris, Carlton Johnson, Jermaine Johnson, Wilfred Journet, Tim Lamb, Chaz Ramsey, Chris Slaughter, Ryan Williams, Chris Zinn, and Brent Slusher. That's 14 guys out of 30 who didn't make it to their junior year.
2008: Harry Adams, Ken Adams, Dax Dellenbach, Cameron Henderson, Reggie Hunt, Marcus Jemison, Jermaine Johnson, Spencer Pybus, Jomarcus Savage, Vance Smith, Freddie Smooth, Andre Wadley, Deshaun Barnes, DeRon Furr, and Raven Gray. That's 15 guys that signed two years ago (out of 28.
After pointing out Tommy Tuberville's busts, I do have to look at last year's class, too!
2009: Josh Jackson, Brandon Jacobs, Lavoyd James, Izauea Lanier, Taikwon Paige, and Reggie Taylor. Chizik's first class saw attrition of 6 out of 28.
Totaling the numbers, 59 players out of 131 signed in the past 5 seasons are no longer with the Auburn football program. That's 45 percent. The equation also has a remainder of 59 players, which is far below the NCAA's maximum of 85. If Gene Chizik maintains a similar level of attrition compared to his first class, we can expect to see about 8 of the current crop not work out by the end of next season.
The good news is that so far, Gene Chizik's 25 percent rate will maintain good numbers on the roster. A 45 percent rate, as has happened in recent years will gut a team. I'm hoping for a trend-bucking year! Let's get that number down to less than 10 percent!