The Auburn football program made a big move in the 2022 season by finally letting go of Bryan Harsin and eventually bringing on Hugh Freeze as the new head coach of the Tigers. From the beginning, Freeze has proven that he wants to be on the Plains and he wants to take on the challenge of rebuilding the Auburn football program.
Of course, that challenge is a big one. Freeze is charged with reviving a program that has struggled in recruiting over the past few seasons, has had two consecutive losing seasons, and is sitting in the shadow of neighbors Alabama and Georgia.
According to Matt Hayes of Saturday Down South, all the coaches in the SEC are simply chasing after the success of Georgia’s Kirby Smart, even Nick Saban. Naturally Hayes ranked Smart and Saban as the top two coaches in his 2023 power rankings, and Auburn football’s Hugh Freeze fell close to the bottom of the pack:
"Freeze has proven he can X and O with the best of the SEC. But can he build at a program that doesn’t exactly have patience — and can he recruit at an elite level when everyone else can hand out NIL cash, too?"
Hayes ranked Freeze at spot #10, behind Smart, Saban, LSU’s Brian Kelly, Tennessee’s Josh Heaped, Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, Ole Miss’s Lane Kiffin, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, Arkansas’s Sam Pittman, and South Carolina’s Shane Beamer.
While we have no yet seen the on-field product of Freeze’s new coaching staff, it’s hard to question his recruiting abilities after what he’s done over the past several months. Between several flips in the class of 2023 and winning the transfer portal with 21 incoming transfers, it seems like Freeze has already gotten off to a hot start in his new position and will be able to prove the rankings wrong this fall.