AUBURN, Ala. (Auburn University) - Opening statement
"We're extremely excited about today's signing class, and the addition of 20 new young men to the Auburn family . Actually some who have already been here, and some who we signed today to play football at Auburn University. We feel really, really good about the new student-athletes that we have coming to Auburn. Number one, they're what we consider to be really, really good football players and really, really good citizens and good people. As we targeted and we started out the recruiting process, we wanted to bring in the best guys for Auburn, and we feel great about the quality of the class. We feel like we targeted needs that we had on our football team, and we addressed those needs. We feel very fortunate that we're able to land some of these top recruits. Our recruiting class is hopefully not complete. We're still recruiting a few guys out there that we hope to be able to convince them to be Auburn Tigers as well. But that being said, we're extremely happy about the 20 that we got, and it's been a great day. It's been a great day for Auburn. Again, very, very happy with how the class turned out."
On if he had ever gone into a National Signing Day with so many undecided recruits
"Well today was very unique. Today was a very unique day, and I think, as you know, we always start targeting all the players in the state of Alabama first. That's where we start, and we signed seven from the state in this signing class. We always start here, and we work our way out. Wherever we have to go, we're going to go to get players. This is a year where we were recruiting them from a lot of different places, and I think even down to the last minute today, we were in some battles. Some we won, some we lost, but it was a very unique year in that regard, in my opinion. As we tallied up everything last night, there were so many guys that could have went both ways, but again, we're going to be happy about the 20 that we got."
On not having many options with players wanting to wait until today to announce
"Well I think when you recruit the best of the best, when we target players, we don't just target the best player, they also have to be the right player. So many of those guys, they're national recruits, and everybody in the country is recruiting them. With this day and age of the media and how a lot of guys want to wait till the end, in a lot of instances, you don't have a choice. Again, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that we had a lot of young men that stuck with Auburn from the beginning. They committed to us early. These are national top recruits, great football players that never wavered. They never switched. They've been Auburn men since the beginning and since they made their commitment to us, which some of them date all the way back to the summertime. So I don't want to lose sight of those guys because there were a few today that obviously wanted to take it down to the wire, but there were a lot who didn't. Again, because they want on TV announcing their final desire of school to go to, I don't want to lose sight of all the ones that we signed and stuck with us for a good part of a year now."
On what he saw as the biggest needs on offense and defense at the beginning of the recruiting process
"Offensive line was obviously something that we feel like we need to, numbers wise, shore up. That was one obvious need for us. After that, because of the past couple of years of recruiting, it wasn't like we needed to have a great number of any other position. It's kind of spread out, two here, three there, two here, three there. So we kind of spread out both offensively and defensively where we needed to go from there. It was kind of one of those classes where we were going to go out and recruit the best guys for a lot of different positions. Offensive line was obviously a big target, and we needed to shore that up. Otherwise I think it's kind of spread out."
On how they thought they did recruiting offensive linemen
"Well, I think we're in the right direction. I don't think there's any question that we're headed in the right direction. There's a couple others out there that we'd love to see become Auburn Tigers, but again, I feel like we're definitely on track."
On taking a second quarterback, Jonathan Wallace
"With Barrett (Trotter) leaving and that being a situation where if we don't sign a second quarterback, we're really sitting with three scholarship quarterbacks, that was something that we just felt like we really needed to address. Jonathan Wallace is obviously a local guy that's had a lot of great success at quarterback. He is a very athletic guy that, again, has really blossomed at that position. We were very happy to see that Jonathan was interested, so we made the move, and we think it was a really good one."
On losing some recruits because of going after other ones
"I'm not really sure exactly what you're referring to, but here's what we do. We target what we
think is the best fit for Auburn. We start at the very beginning, and again, it doesn't matter really where they're at, it just matters that they're the best fit and the right fit for what we're trying to do. We want great Auburn men here, that are great football players. Obviously we're going to go after the best of the best. That's what we do. In recruiting the best of the best, some you're going to get, and some you're not going to get. I don't ever feel good about standing up here and talking about the ones we didn't get. That's like talking about teammates or whatnot of the guys that are gone. I want to talk about the guys that are here. Again, just kind of going back to the quality of this class, we feel great about. The ones that we did not get that were top recruits, which again there's a lot of really great players out there, and some we signed, some we didn't. We're always going to do it the same way. We're going to start in the state. We're going to recruit great players. We're going to move outside the state, and if you miss on a guy, or he chooses to go somewhere else, then we're going to move on to the next guy. There's no concern from my part on how we do it. I feel really good about the class."
On the recruits that wait until the last minute to decide when you could be out recruiting others
"That becomes a little Russian roulette in there to some degree. You know what? You just have to use your best judgment. It's all about relationships and how deep in it are you? How good is your shot? There's some risk-reward things that you have to contend with, particularly when you can sign 25 and when you can't over-sign and some of the things of that nature. It becomes a little challenging, there's no question about it. It comes down to how good of a relationship do you have with these guys, and where you think you're going to fit and where you think you're going to fall. It's definitely challenging."
On having to be more aware of the signing cap this year and moving forward
"Yes, great question, and yes, the answer is in fact yes, you have to be very judicious about making sure that you don't over-sign, because there's no forgiveness there. That's certainly part of the equation and much more stringent, and not that you didn't pay attention to it before - you always pay attention to it - but obviously where you draw the line in the sand now is much different. So you really, really have to be very judicious on how you proceed, how many scholarships you send out and also, going back to (the previous) question, where you feel like you really are with a lot of those guys. The 25 limit, it's challenging."
On some schools and conferences offering four-year scholarships instead of year-by-year offers
"I don't know how that's going to pan out going forward, to be honest with you. It's going to be really interesting to see how that unfolds. Everybody has different ideas on it. Certainly if one school chooses to do it and the other doesn't, obviously it creates somewhat of an advantage or a disadvantage depending on which one you are. But I think that as it unfolds and moves forward, there will be more discussions and talks about it. But it's definitely going to be something that will be brought up as we move forward, that's for sure."
On if Auburn signed anyone to a multi-year scholarship
"We signed everybody to the exact same scholarship."
Which is the one-year?
On fullback Jay Prosch transferring to Auburn from Illinois
"Number one, he's a really good football player. There (were) some things in his home life right now that wanted to bring him back this way. He's a young man from this state, obviously, who was a very good football player at UMS-Wright coming out. Not only was he a good player coming out of high school, he was obviously a very good player in college. He's a guy that can play the fullback position if we choose to use a fullback or an H-back or somebody of that nature, he certainly can do that, and he's proved that on the collegiate level. Great kid, definitely an Auburn-type kid. That's why we chose to sign him. He was really, really excited about coming to Auburn. Growing up in this state, again, I just think it's important when you get opportunities to get good football players from this state, you jump on those opportunities, and he was one. It really worked out well for us, and the timing was really, really good."
On what kind of impact the new offensive and defensive coordinators had on the recruiting process
"The great thing about this class is the majority of these guys were already in the class, and again, I have to give a lot of these guys so much credit because they never wavered. They stood strong to their commitment to Auburn. I don't think that that really was much of an issue. Both coordinators jumped in with both feet, really went out there and re-recruited everybody in terms of getting to know all the guys that were both committed and the guys we were trying to get committed.
They both did a great job and got to know these guys in a short period of time the best they could. I don't think there was any sort of negative impact."
On if the NCAA investigation had any impact on this signing class
"I just don't think that anybody even talks about it anymore."
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