Auburn football luring away 4-star linebacker Joseph Phillips out of Booker T Washington in Tuskegee from Georgia was an example of new Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze “sending a message” to Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart — this, at least, according to Auburn Daily’s Lance Dawe.
“Stealing a player away from Kirby Smart and the Dogs is sending a message – one that hopefully is built upon in the coming months,” Dawe wrote. “Hugh Freeze has the ability to bring Auburn back to where they were just a few years ago.”
With AU and UGA remaining yearly rivals in 2024 with the SEC schedule recently announced, Freeze and Smart will become familiar with each other very quickly. Typically, it’s Smart getting his guy, so if this is a bellwether for what’s to come — with Freeze’s blue-chip ratio resembling Smart’s in Athens and Nick Saban’s at Alabama as more of these battles are won –, then Dawe’s proclamation of Freeze getting the Tigers back to, at minimum, the pre-2020 Gus Malzahn era, will age like a fine whine.
Hugh Freeze completes ‘huge’ week for Auburn football on the recruiting trail
Since taking over, Freeze has flipped the narrative from “Auburn football makes top three but loses to ___ for ___” to “Tigers have a huge week,” which is something that’s been said several times in the last half-year since the Oxford, Mississippi native took over. AL.com’s Ben Thomas lauded Freeze for his work the week of June 12 with such a headline.
“Not only did Auburn add three new commitments for the Class of 2024, but two previous commitments announced they were shutting down their recruitment,” Thomas wrote.
The three recruits in question were Phillips, Mobile-area wideout Bryce Cain, and Sunshine State secondary star Kensley Faustin out of Naples. Moody DB A’Mon Lane and Andalusia running back J’Marion Burnette shut down their recruitment, all but fully committing to the Tigers.