Auburn Football Recruiting: Will Muschamp is One of the Great Closers in College Football


ABC. Always Be Closing.

It’s a common saying in sales, but it can most certainly be applied to college football recruiting. In addition to watching film, game-planning, scheduling and conducting practices and occasionally actually coaching in games, college football coaches spend a big chunk of their time trying to convince 16-to-18-year olds to choose their school on National Signing Day.

The 2015 Auburn football recruiting class could receive a huge boost due to the hiring of new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, one of the great closers in the game. He’s been on staff for two days, and he’s already focused on closing deals.

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“As soon as we get done and walk out of that door, we’re going,” Muschamp said Saturday at his introductory news conference.

And he wasn’t kidding. With only a couple of days available to speak with recruits before the dead period, Muschamp has already met or spoken with highly sought after players like junior college defensive back Tony Bridges, five-star offensive lineman Martez Ivey, massive defensive tackle Deron Payne and talented linebacker Darrell Williams. As of now, Williams is the only player currently committed to the Tigers.

But with Muschamp now on board, he could help Auburn close the deal and bring each of those players to the Plains.

“He works well with recruits and he’s going to be out there recruiting,” Auburn commit Jalen Harris told the Montgomery Advertiser over the weekend. “Ellis Johnson wasn’t really much of a recruiter. So he’s going to be out there on the road recruiting guys. I was talking to Daron Payne and he was like, ‘man, I like the Muschamp hire.’ So hopefully we can get him and a lot more big-time, five-star recruits and big-time commits like him.”

And there’s more.

Four-star JUCO defensive back Justin Martin, one of the highest rated in this year’s class, is expected to visit Auburn soon. Until Muschamp was hired, the Tigers were completely off the radar for the Oklahoma A&M product.

Muschamp could also have a huge impact on the recruitment of five-star defensive end Byron Cowart, who will make an official visit in January, and linebacker Jeff Holland, who is expected (like Ivey) to decide between Auburn or Florida. Coach Boom could even make in roads with CeCe Jefferson, another five-star pass rusher that hadn’t given the Tigers much attention until the hire.

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  • Some of those targets may be long shots, but Muschamp’s been closing and closing well for a long time.

    As the head coach at Florida, he led the Gators to recruited classes ranked in the top three in the nation by 247Sports in 2012 and 2013, and even coming off of a disastrous 4-8 2013 season, a top ten finish in 2014.

    “It was real difficult,” Dante Fowler, Jr. said on signing day in 2012. “Being committed for a year and growing up a Florida State fan all my life — I always hated Florida, and I always told myself I would never go to Florida, and now I’m about to be playing for them. It’s kind of crazy.”

    Not only was Fowler a player for Florida, he was a great one and is expected to be drafted very high in the 2015 NFL Draft after spending three seasons in Muschamp’s defense. He’s also landed stars such as Vernon Hargreaves III, Jonathan Bullard, Matt Jones, Jalen Tabor, and Treon Harris.

    How does he do it?

    “You stay on guys,” Muschamp said, “and try to make valid points you’ve made throughout the entire recruiting process all the way through.”

    And then you close the deal.

    ESPN national recruiting reporter Jeremy Crabtree discusses Muschamp’s closing ability on this video from

    Next: What Auburn Players May Leave Early for the NFL Draft?

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