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24 Days to Kickoff! - Nate Craig-Myers

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We’ll always have the jump pass...

Alabama v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.

THE RECRUIT

Man, was this a huge recruiting get for Auburn following the surge of early-career momentum that Gus Malzahn generated. On July 21, 2014, Nate Craig-Myers committed to Auburn as the top overall player in the class of 2016. He still had a ton of high school left, and there were a ton of potential pitfalls in the way before he arrived at Auburn.

He decommitted the following May after the interest levels and attention from other teams ramped up, but eventually stuck with his original pledge when he picked Auburn over North Carolina on National Signing Day in 2016.

Craig-Myers was the prototypical wide receiver, standing 6’3 and over 200 pounds, and he had great hands to boot. Here’s what the experts said:

This kid is a gazelle and on the field he runs like a deer. Craig won’t run the fastest forty in the country but between the lines he shows great speed and deep speed. Craig is strong and can be a physical wide receiver. He can get in and out of his breaks quickly and effortlessly. He’s smooth and deceptive. Craig’s very well put together. Craig has good hands. In fact, this is one area that I have seen his game really improve this off-season.

After losing Sammie Coates and Duke Williams, Auburn needed a player to come in and become the breakout big target on the perimeter. We thought NCM would be the guy.

THE PLAYER

He never really got the attention that he probably deserved on the field, as Sean White and Jarrett Stidham developed a better rapport with other receivers. NCM may have had the best hands and the ability to protect a catch with his big body, but he just never really fit into the system.

His first season in 2016, he caught just 4 passes for 70 yards, but followed that up with a promising 16-catch, 285-yard, 3-touchdown sophomore campaign as Auburn won the SEC West. One of those touchdowns turned out to be one of the signature plays of the year.

He also grabbed a touchdown the following week in the SEC Championship Game, and in 2018 he seemed poised to become one of the top targets on the team, especially after Will Hastings and Eli Stove went down with injuries.

Unfortunately, he caught just a pair of passes for 39 yards in the win over Washington, and then didn’t record a catch in the next two games. After the loss to LSU, he decided to transfer away from the program just after tight end Jalen Harris made the same decision. With the new redshirt and transfer rules (players can play in four games before making a decision), he took advantage and left the team to go to Colorado State.