Alabama Football: At the opposite end of the recruiting world, there’s Auburn

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football again rules the college football recruiting world. Anyone surprised by the Crimson Tide’s 2023 Signing Class success might want to follow a different sport than college football.

By comparison, the Auburn Tigers are recruiting from a terrain more isolated than a hamlet in east Alabama. Whatever the Tigers are currently selling, almost no top recruits are buying.

Counter to the claim in the preceding paragraph is that Auburn is ranked by the 247Sports Composite as having the No. 20 class. Many stories crediting which head coaches had the most success in the Early Signing Period, cite Hugh Freeze for having done a quick, masterful job.

Those stories are wrong. To the extent Auburn has had some limited success in recent recruiting, an Auburn assistant deserves most of the credit. In a smart move by Hugh Freeze, former Auburn player, assistant coach and Bryan Harsin hire, Zac Etheridge was retained.  Freeze kept Etheridge, Cadillac Williams and Christian Robinson.

It has been that trio and especially Etheridge that have held Auburn’s recruiting together.

The often-repeated proclamation of Hugh Freeze being a great recruiter is suspect for current relevance. It is widely believed Hugh Freeze landed some top recruits at Ole Miss by buying them. Now that buying players is standard, there is no history to show Freeze is any kind of a recruiting wizard.

In the short time, Freeze has been with Auburn, most of his results are meager. Freeze clearly wanted to add at least one or maybe two top quarterbacks. So far, his ‘success’ has been 3-Star, Hank Brown. According to the 247Sports Consensus, Brown is the No. 1,382 recruit in the 2023 class.

The latest addition for the Tigers is transfer offensive lineman, Dillon Wade from Tulsa. As a recruit, Wade was rated as the No. 2,408 player overall. Freeze and Auburn tried to land Alabama transfer, Amari Kight. Kight chose Gus Malzahn and UCF.

Comparing Alabama Football and Auburn

Auburn has attracted three top 200 players, though only two of them signed in the Early Period. To compare, Alabama Football signed just three recruits, ranked outside the top 300 (per 247Sports) and the lowest rated of them is No. 376. Auburn has signed 11 recruits outside the top 300. Seven of the 11 are rated No. 514, No. 530, No. 677, No. 688, No. 778, No. 1,373 and Brown at No. 1,382.

Hugh Freeze and his Auburn staff will have a lot of ‘coaching them up’ to do for the 2023 season.

Next. Nick Saban still working on 2023 roster additions. dark

Some Auburn fans see what is happening and are beginning to think Freeze, while an improvement over Bryan Harsin as a recruiter, may not be as good as Gus Malzahn.