Dameyune Craig, Hugh Freeze's lead recruiter for AJ Brown at Ole Miss among Auburn football OC candidates

Dameyune Craig and Hugh Freeze's lead recruiter for AJ Brown at Ole Miss are among the top Auburn football OC candidates.

Jan 3, 2014; Irvine, CA, USA; Auburn Tigers co-offensive coordinator Dameyune Craig at practice for
Jan 3, 2014; Irvine, CA, USA; Auburn Tigers co-offensive coordinator Dameyune Craig at practice for / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Following the January 5 firing of Auburn football offensive coordinator Phillip Montgomery, Opelika-Auburn News reporter Adam Cole quickly assembled a shortlist of potential replacements for the former Tulsa head coach. Among the notable names were former offensive coordinator (under Gus Malzahn) and Tigers quarterback (in the mid 1990s), Dameyune Craig, and AJ Brown's primary recruiter under Hugh Freeze's Ole Miss Rebels, Grant Heard.

As Cole notes, Craig's been out of the game for a while as a coordinator, but the Mobile native has had valuable experience at the Power Five level since being one on the Plains.

"Craig hasn’t been a coordinator since his time on Gus Malzahn’s Auburn staff, but he’s been a noted recruiter," Cole prefaced before saying, "He led the charge for Auburn signee and former A&M commit Cam Coleman as Jimbo Fisher's receivers coach in College Station. He’s also been the primary recruiter for five-stars and eventual signees like Evan Stewart and Jameis Winston."

Heard, the Brown whisperer, has ties to Freeze and a long resume of recruiting well.

"Heard is another assistant who was on Freeze’s Ole Miss, and he was responsible for the recruitments of AJ Brown, Laquon Treadwell and Van Jefferson — all of whom were receivers who signed with Ole Miss and went onto NFL careers," Cole wrote. "Heard was a co-offensive coordinator at Indiana, and he was Freeze’s passing game coordinator at Arkansas State as well."

Firing Philip Montgomery the right choice for Auburn football regardless of how OC hiring goes

Names like Maurice Harris and Matt Luke are also notable, and plausible given the ties to Freeze from his Rebels coaching tenure, but regardless of where this offensive coordinator hiring goes, the right call was made to let Montgomery go.

Whether he was scapegoated fairly or not, he was a frequent target of Freeze who was undermined significantly when the head coach would claim to be the play-caller whenever the Tigers looked competent and do the opposite when not.

It's not easy to pay out another few million in buyout money to a coach who is no longer employed at AU, but that's the cost of business in college football.

That is, in East Central Alabama, at least.