Auburn's 2012 recruiting class was a very solid class. The class filled every need except for linebacker, and Auburn still landed two very good in state linebackers. Auburn was in the running for a lot of big name guys down the stretch and missed out on some close battles, but the Tigers also pulled in some guys and kept key recruits on board.
Some Auburn fans seem to be all doom and gloom because of the guys we missed when they should really be happy about the guys we got. Of course, all of us would have loved to close with every big name guy on our board, but that just wasn't the case this year. People also seem to read WAY too much into stars and rankings. The recruiting sites usually do a good job of evaluating kids, but there are always going to be a lot of kids who get underrated, overrated and completely overlooked. If we told you Nick Fairley, Darvin Adams, Ryan Pugh and Terrell Zachery were all 3 star recruits would you believe us? All four of those guys were key to Auburn's National Title run in 2010. Pugh was a four-year starter on The Plains. If we told you Tray Blackmon, DeAngelo Benton and Ben Obamanu were all 5 star recruits would believe us? Not knocking on those guys, but they didn't turn into game-changing, All-American players like their 5 star rating suggested.
My best example for a current player is Daren Bates. Daren hasn't been an All-American in his three years at Auburn and probably won't be one in his senior year, but he will have been a four-year starter, did whatever the coaches asked of him and moved to linebacker his sophomore year. Daren led the team in tackles his junior year; he will be a leader for this defense in 2012. Daren was a 2 star recruit.
Recruiting has blown up the past few years -- especially in this state -- with Gene Chizik and Nick Saban consistently bringing in top-tier talent. People get way too caught up in where the team finishes and who the other team got. Worry about your team, worry about the guys that wanted to sign with your team, not the guy YOU wanted. Coach Chizik and his staff recruited guys they thought were the most talented and the best fit for Auburn. Chizik has said that is the way they were going to recruit from the beginning and things seem to be going just fine. Auburn finished with the No. 11-ranked recruiting class this year and we still have three major kids that have Auburn in their final group. It's not top 5 like the past two years, but it has the potential to be a solid top ten class. Even if Auburn strikes out on all three remaining guys, this class is still a very good bunch of kids.
So while you may be down about not finishing the way you expected, just remember these are 17- and 18-year-old kids who have never sniffed the SEC. Some will pan out, some won't. A no-name recruit will become an All-American and a 5 star recruit will never live up to expectations. Recruiting matters now, but when the fall rolls around and a kid makes a big play for Auburn, whether he was a high school phenom or a back up plan, as long as he's wearing orange and blue, we couldn't really give a damn. War Eagle.