Hugh Freeze amped up the pressure on his coaching staff’s recruiting efforts over the next year with his claim on July 18 that his Auburn football tenure will be defined by his 2024 and 2025 recruiting classes.
“I do think that the ’24 and ’25 recruiting cycle will tell a large portion of the story of my tenure there,” Freeze said (h/t Opelika-Auburn News’ Adam Cole). “I believe that. Maybe ‘26 we might get three cycles, but we’ve got to start closing the gap on the elite programs in this conference. And when you add Texas and Oklahoma, that only increases the competition, also.”
Freeze’s statement takes the pressure off of Payton Thorne and the 2023 season, though the Oxford, Mississippi native is likely aware of what AU tends to do when the world is counting them out. Best for Freeze not to dial up the hype until at least the Cal game.
Hugh Freeze believes in what Auburn football can accomplish
Freeze believes in Auburn, and when one does that, Auburn tends to lead that belief to a payoff. During SEC Media Days 2023, Freeze spoke highly of the program’s resources to recruit and build a winner even in the shark-infested waters of the country’s best conference.
“There’s no reason (we’re not in the SEC’s upper echelon),” Freeze prefaced before saying, “We have the facilities. We have the support. We have the administration. You’re in an area that football is important, and you’re in an area that you can recruit to.”
What’s evident is that Freeze has already bought into the hype, having established relationships with high school coaches throughout the state and bringing the Plains a top-three 2023 transfer class in recruiting in just a few months. Freeze has already proven to be a better recruiter than his predecessor, and unlike his predecessor’s predecessor, he doesn’t want to peak too soon.
Auburn football is better off for having someone with such a mentality heading into a new era for the SEC, and college football in general, in 2024.