Auburn needed to land a commitment from someone like Tre Williams.
The nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker according to Rivals announced his commitment to the Tigers on Wednesday. He chose Auburn over Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss.
Auburn has been looking for a player like Williams to help breathe some life into the Tigers’ 2014 class. He’s the first high-profile pledge in the class, which currently has five commitments.
He also gives Auburn a nice win in Mobile, Ala., a city that is critical in recruiting for both Auburn and rival Alabama. Credit for landing Williams goes to Auburn co-offensive coordinator Dameyune Craig, a Mobile native who played quarterback at Auburn from 1994-97.
“My family knows Coach Craig well, I’ve known since day one I’d be playing for him,” Williams told Rivals. “He tells me everything, he tells it how it is from bad to good. The good outweighed the bad and he’s real. Ever since I told my family I was going to commit, they are thrilled with Auburn.”
And Auburn’s coaches will be thrilled to sell Williams’ commitment to other recruits.
The SEC has reached a level of competition in recruiting we’ve never seen before. Eleven of the top 26 classes in the country for 2014 are in the SEC. Auburn is ranked No. 22, which is good for eighth best in the conference.
The Tigers will need to land more players like Williams if it wants to stay competitive in the SEC. There’s reason for Auburn fans to hope that will happen.
Auburn landed several highly-touted prospects late in the 2013 recruiting class, including defensive tackles Montravius Adams and Ben Bradley and defensive end Elijah Daniel.
But Auburn will have to focus on keeping the commitment of Williams, who will continue to hear from other schools, including Alabama.
Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News recently compared Williams to a highly-touted 2012 prospect from Mobile, running back T.J. Yeldon.
Yeldon, who was ranked the nation’s No. 2 running back by Rivals, committed to Auburn early in the recruiting process. As Mr. Scarbinsky writes, there was plenty of excitement in Auburn when the Tigers landed Yeldon’s commitment.
“Williams might be the biggest name from the Mobile area to commit to Auburn since Yeldon. How did that turn out?
Yeldon was every bit as good as advertised, running for 1,108 yards as a true freshman. The trouble for Auburn was, he did it for Alabama after switching his commitment late in the fall of 2011 and then starting classes there in January of 2012.”
Auburn will work to make sure Williams doesn’t make the same switch. And he will surely hear from people telling him Alabama is a better choice than Auburn, especially if Alabama has another successful season in 2013.
Linebacker Reuben Foster and defensive end Dee Liner heard the same thing during last year’s recruiting season. They both switched their commitments from Auburn and signed with Alabama.
This doesn’t mean Williams will do the same. Craig’s presence will help, and the fact Williams has two friends – offensive lineman Joshua Casher and linebacker Deshaun Davis – already committed to Auburn should be an advantage for the Tigers.
Auburn will do everything it has to do to make sure Williams stays committed and signs with the Tigers. He’s that important.
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