Signing recruiting classes can be an art as much as it is a science. You have to strike a balance between ensuring there’s a consistent influx of talent at every position and going after talent you think is elite regardless of fit. Joiner was one of those recruits that was an topflight blend of athleticism and size, even if he was unpolished as a football player and it wasn’t immediately clear how he fit into the Auburn offense.
Joiner had clear intentions of playing running back in college, and much of his recruitment centered around who would provide him this chance. LSU was long considered a favorite for the Mountain Brook talent, but when the purple Tigers realized they may not have the numbers to sign him, Auburn immediately became the favorites. Malzahn sold him on a different role, though, showing off to Joiner his work with NFL veteran tight end/h-back Charles Clay when Clay and Malzahn were at Tulsa. In 2007 and 2008, while Clay was just a freshman and sophomore, Clay racked up a total of nearly 1,500 yards receiving and 450 yards rushing with 19 total touchdowns. At 6’3” and 220 lbs, Joiner was a little smaller but also significantly faster than Clay in high school, and this comp ended up winning Joiner over.
Joiner has only had one season on the Plains, but we’ve already gotten to see a little bit of that plan Gus has for him. Joiner was the backup wildcat quarterback behind Boobee Whitlow this past season, but was able to maintain his redshirt. His main action came in the Alabama State game, where he rushed 3 times for 9 yards and a touchdown.
In the A-Day game this spring, Joiner got to show off his versatility, rushing the ball for 21 yards on six carries and tacked on 28 yards receiving on three catches. If his role there means anything for the fall, he may play all over the field for the Tigers.