For every “Boom!” tweet made by Gus Malzahn, there is a new verbal commitment made public to the Auburn Tigers. It may be too early to tell, but for now, Malzahn and his staff seem to be on track to put together one of his best recruiting classes on The Plains thus far. In retrospect, ESPN ranks the 2015 class as the highest ranked group since Gus Malzahn took over the head coaching position in 2013. With the addition of Luke Deal, a 3 star tight end, Auburn currently sits at No. 13 in the recruiting rankings (according to ESPN) with many big targets left on the board. As we begin to approach the summer, there is plenty of optimism amongst the coaches and recruits that this could become a very special class.
Big Cat Weekend has become a signature recruiting holiday for the Auburn Tigers here in recent memory. Created by Gene Chizik back in 2009, the coaches host dozens of top recruits for a family-friendly environment. The recruits and coaches compete against each other in events such as pie-eating, water balloon fights, and scavenger hunts. Many recruits in the past have raved about the event for its uniqueness. The official list of attendees has not been made public yet as some recruits will likely make their decision soon (this year’s Big Cat Weekend starts June 2), but one thing is for certain; the list never disappoints. While it doesn’t always lead to a ton of commitments on the spot, many of those who end up signing with the Tigers, often attend the event. Some of the most notable former Tigers who attended the event in the past include: Greg Robinson, Carl Lawson, Montravious Adams, and Kerryon Johnson.
A talented quarterback is often one of the cornerstones to a good recruiting class. That is exactly what the Tigers have in Bo Nix, the son of former Auburn quarterback, Patrick Nix. Considered to be one of the top quarterbacks in this class, Nix did something that no other quarterback had done before; he became the first underclass QB MVP of the Opening in Atlanta last year. He finished second this year in the running for Mr. Football for the state of Alabama, but he was able to lead his team to an undefeated season at Pinson Valley; throwing for 35 touchdowns while only tossing four interceptions. With his talent, other offensive recruits have taken notice; and instead of Nix sitting back and letting the coaches do all of the recruiting, he has taken it upon himself to be an active recruiter via Twitter.
Owen Pappoe might be one of the most talented defensive players in the entire 2019 recruiting class nationally, not just in the Tigers class. In last year’s Nike Opening, Pappoe set a regional record with a 147.12 SPARQ rating. The test combines the power ball toss, 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and 5-10 5 shuttles. He’s been recruited by powerhouse colleges since his 8th grade year and is considered to be one of the most popular recruits in the country. He, like Nix, has been a very active recruiter via Twitter and predicts that this class will be a top-5 group when it is all said and done. He has strong relationships with many 4 and 5-star recruits and has even been able to convince some who are committed elsewhere, to take an official visit to Auburn. It will be very interesting to see who ultimately decides to suit up with him and ultimately decide to sign with the Tigers.
As mentioned before, it’s still early, but the Gus Malzahn likes his chances with this class. The momentum is alive and well. With an elite talent and active recruiter on both sides of the ball, this class could rival some of Gene Chizik’s best classes in which he secured the fourth and third best classes in consecutive years. Another big season will only help catch the eyes of those who may have Auburn in their top-5. The Gus Bus wheels are spinning and Malzahn is making sound waves throughout the college football with one simple word: Boom!