Auburn Defensive Coordinator Search is Vital For Recruiting


As we move into the evening hours of Muschamp Watch: Day 6, and the rumors that have come with it, it’s important to step back and think about the impact the ongoing Auburn defensive coordinator search has on the future of the program and it’s lifeblood: Recruiting.

Will Muschamp is reportedly Auburn’s top target, and for good reason. He’s an excellent coach, a master motivator, and a great recruiter. Right now, it appears that landing Muschamp would be the best possible scenario for the Tigers, even if he only returns for a year or two. I’ve even discussed why it’s the right move for his future.

But, is it the best long-term move for Auburn?

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Ellis Johnson was fired as Auburn defensive coordinator Sunday. It didn’t take long for current players and recruiting targets to respond to the news through Twitter and other outlets.

“That’s one of the worst things to happen to a recruit,” 2015 Auburn commit Darrell Williams told’s Wesley Sinor this week. “I loved the relationship and time we had, but I wish him the best. He knows it’s business. He texted me good luck and to go for the three-peat. I still appreciate him as a man. It’s hard.”

Is it hard enough that Williams would consider signing elsewhere?

“I would say I’m pretty firm with Auburn, but I’m still keeping an open mind with Alabama. Oklahoma, they still want me, but it’s kind of tight. Ole Miss came back in the picture too.”

Like Muschamp, Williams and his fellow recruits are weighing their options.

The former Florida head coach is said to be considering an offer from Texas A&M, is rumored to have already accepted an offer from South Carolina, and probably has many other options we know nothing about, including interest from the NFL and perhaps even a head coaching opportunity or two. And, he seems to be in no hurry to make a decision.

Supposedly, Muschamp is out of the country on vacation. The last bit of information we learned about his timeline came from Bruce Feldman, who said Muschamp probably won’t make any formal decision for “a couple of weeks.”

As Williams mentioned, he too has options. And pretty good ones. If the defensive coordinator search takes long enough, Williams and his potential future teammates – who are high schoolers and therefore likely impatient – may decide to announce their intentions to play elsewhere.

Instead of waiting on Muschamp to make a decision, would it be wise to find another option that has a similar skill set? There are other coaches that are good with X’s and O’s, have the personality to motivate their players to run through walls and also are good recruiters with experience in the South.

If we’re still on Muschamp Watch on Day 10 or Day 15, will Williams still be committed to the Tigers? How about the other 14 players (six of which are defensive players) that are currently committed, but are not early enrollees? Imagine what the other coaches recruiting them are saying.

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  • Hugh Freeze (a master recruiter himself who just signed a big extension at Ole Miss), or Nick Saban (who despite annual rumors has and likely will stay loyal to Alabama) would be sure to remind Williams (or others) that there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding what defensive coaches will be at Auburn while they’re in school.

    Which brings me to my next point. Even if Muschamp comes on board, Freeze, Saban, Dan Mullen and every other coach that has an interest in a four-star linebacker, defensive lineman or defensive back that is currently committed to the Tigers can say the same thing.

    “Will Muschamp? Yeah,” they’ll say. “He’s a great coach. Don’t expect him to be at Auburn long though. He’ll be a head coach somewhere else by the time you’re a junior. How’s he going to get you to the NFL then? How’s he going to help you win the Thorpe Award or the Badnarik Award then? He’ll be at Taxidermy Tech coaching his own program – not Auburn. I’ll be here, and so will my staff. You can count on it.”

    Muschamp is a great coach, and he would inject some much needed energy into the defensive coaching staff and his impact in the meeting room, the practice field, and on Saturdays would probably play big dividends while he was on staff. The players currently on the roster will probably love playing for him.

    But just how long would that be? And would players come to Auburn knowing he’s not likely to be there long?

    What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

    Next: Why Auburn Makes Sense For Muschamp

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